At press time Scott County has three confirmed COVID-19 cases, but WEDCO Public Health Director Dr. Crystal Miller warns that is a deceiving number.
Two of the cases are 30-year-old females with a 70-year-old female being the other. At least two of the patients are in isolation at home, and officials believe the third is as well.
“I think it is important to remind our community members, although we found the second case, we know that wasn’t the second case and the first case isn’t the first case,” Miller said shortly after the second case was confirmed. The third case was confirmed several hours later. “We just happened to find it. That’s important to realize that we don’t just have two cases in Scott County, but we have found two cases in Scott County due to testing procedures.”
This week more private labs have started testing, which means there likely will be more confirmed cases in the near future, she said.
“Up until last week we only had one testing source, and that through our state lab,” Miller said. “The great thing about the state lab is they had a turnaround time of 12-to-24 hours, so we had a very efficient process. But the downfall to just having one lab is we didn’t have testing capacity.
“But since then we have built capacity. We have multiple private labs that are building capacity and being able to offer additional testing.”
Now that testing capacity is increasing, Miller warns that everyone does not need to be tested.
“Who we need to be testing are people who are symptomatic,” she said. “It’s important that we have the testing capacity for people who have symptoms of COVID-19, and I want to touch on why. Eighty percent of people who contract COVID-19 will be in their home for supportive care. There is no treatment methodology unless they have an other underlying conditions that need medical treatment other than COVID-19.
“If we test you today, that tells us whether or not you have the virus right now. It doesn’t tell us if you have been exposed or if you’ll develop symptoms three days or seven days from now. So, it’s important we practice social distancing because it is the most effective tool we have. If you do develop symptoms it is important to be able to offer testing to our community members.
“We do not need to test every community member. That’s not effective. It’s not a good use of our resources.”
Anyone who typically stays home when they have a normal flu, stay home, she said. If you don’t feel well and normally contact your doctor, do that, she said.
“But it’s important to not overburden our medical facilities just because you want to be tested,” Miller said. “That’s extremely important at this time because we need to be able to respond from a medical standpoint, we need to respond to the people who are symptomatic and that may need additional care.”
Most of the cases in Harrison County — except for our Ground Zero patient — as well in Scott County, have been treated at home, not in a medical facility, she said.
“Please find that comforting as we move into this,” she said. “But we need our medical facilities available for who may have the virus and need our medical facilities.”
Mike Scogin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.