Agencies answer COVID-19 questions


SIDNEY — The Shelby County Emergency Management Agency, Sidney-Shelby County Health Department and Wilson Health have teamed up to answer frequently asked questions about COVID-19 and to dispel rumors about the virus.

“There are questions that you may have concerning the coronavirus and how it will affect you, your family and community. Although we do not have all the answers to this changing situation, it is our aim to address and provide reliable information for you on the response to the outbreak and actions you can take to protect your loved ones,” the release stated.

Concern: Data is skewed because sometimes a person who has COVID-19 is tested more than once, so is counted more than once.

Response: In Ohio, a person with COVID-19 is only counted once even if that person is tested multiple times. Each person has a unique identifier and epidemiologists use those identifiers to ensure that a person who tests positive is only counted once.

Concern: People are receiving positive COVID-19 test results and did not have a test taken.

Response: If you feel this has happened to you, please contact the health department so the matter can be investigated. Only those that have a positive test should be receiving positive test results. If your test results are positive, the Health Department will contact you via phone that your results are positive and they will follow-up with a letter detailing actions that you will need to take to prevent the spread to others.

Concern: How will you be notified if you are a contact of a positive COVID-19 case?

Response: The health department will call you if you are a contact of a positive case. They will not ask you very personal questions. The public health worker will let you know that you may have been exposed, help you monitor symptoms and get care if needed, and help you avoid exposing others. Information that you share is kept confidential and your participation is voluntary. You also will never be asked for financial information so hang up immediately if someone asks for money or for your bank account information, Social Security number, or any password. They will also follow-up with a letter detailing the actions you will need to take to protect others.

Concern: Where can you get tested?

Response: There are two types of tests currently being done to test for COVID-19, antibody testing to detect if you had a previous infection and PCR (molecular testing) to determine if you have a current infection.

Antibody Testing: Specimen collection for the COVID-19 antibody testing is being conducted at Wilson Health’s main campus in their free-standing Medical Building A. Patients must call (937) 498-5334 to schedule an appointment in order to have the antibody test performed. Antibody testing is also being conducted at Hometown Urgent Care, on a walk in basis, no appointment necessary, Monday through Friday 9-5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday’s 9-1 pm, for ages 12 yrs and up. For additional information, call 937-492-1961.

PCR Testing: If you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, call your primary care provider first. Please do not go directly to your doctor’s office or emergency department without calling first. Some physician offices have established new procedures for patient entrance and how they are handling COVID-19. If you do not have a primary care provider, Wilson Health Urgent Care offers a COVID-19 screening and testing. Please call (937) 498-5334 to schedule an appointment or visit www.wilsonhealth.org/urgentcare.

Additional resources:

Wilson Health: Their medical teams are prepared to provide a COVID-19 screening over the phone and determine next steps for patients. Wilson Health Virtual Care: https://www.wilsonhealth.org/virtualcare is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to video chat or talk with a licensed medical provider from the comfort of your home, minimizing the risk of exposure to yourself and others.

Hometown Urgent Care: You do not need an order from your Primary Care Physician for testing at Hometown as Hometown providers will evaluate and counsel you about the tests and results. If you have symptoms, testing is being conducted on a walk in basis, no appointment necessary, Monday through Friday 9-5 pm, and Saturday and Sunday’s 9-1 pm, for ages 12 yrs and up. For additional information, call 937-492-1961.

Concern: If you and everyone around you are social distancing, you do not need a mask. Or if you and everyone around you are wearing a mask, you do not need to social distance.

Response: Wearing a cloth face covering is NOT a replacement for social distancing. Whenever you are outside your home or around anyone outside your immediate household circle, you should stay 6 feet away from others. Doing both provides two layers of protection against the spread of COVID-19.

Concern: Not doing mass pop up testing in Shelby County

Response: Many communities have started mass testing due to localized conditions that have necessitated the holding of those events. People are waiting a week or longer to get test results from these events. Additionally, healthcare workers and people with suspected COVID-19 have also seen an increase wait time for testing results due to high demand for testing. We will continue to evaluate the need for mass pop up testing based on overall testing priorities and availability of test kits and lab capacity.

Concern: Should I get tested if I’m a contact of someone with COVID-19?

Response: If you are experiencing symptoms, you should contact your primary care physician or other healthcare provider to see about testing. If you are not experiencing symptoms, you should continue to stay home and monitor for symptoms each day until your quarantine period has ended (14 days).

Concern: I’ve been asked to quarantine, can I just get a test to prove that I’m not sick?

Response: Symptoms appear two to 14 days after exposure to the virus. If the test is taken too soon, you may have the virus; but, it may go undetected. You must isolate the entire quarantine period to see if symptoms develop and to protect others.

Concern: What if I’m a contact of a contact?

Response: Continue to practice community control measures as normal such as social distancing, wearing a mask, and monitoring for symptoms. If you develop symptoms, self isolate and contact your primary care physician or healthcare provider for guidance.

Concern: Having COVID-19 is just like having the flu.

Response: The virus that causes COVID-19 can lead to some flu-like symptoms, such as body aches, fever, and cough, and both can also lead to pneumonia. However, COVID-19 is more serious, and estimates show it has a much higher mortality rate than flu.

Precautions:

• Remember that the best thing you can do in the face of COVID-19 is to take precautions to protect yourself, your family, and your community:

• Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; dry hands with a clean towel or air-dry hands. Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water are unavailable. Why?

• Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.

• Follow good respiratory hygiene. Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when sneezing or coughing. Why?

• Droplets spread the virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. Why?

• Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and infect you.

• Stay home when you are sick and avoid contact with people who are sick. Why?

• Avoiding contact with others will protect you and them from possible COVID-19 and other viruses.

• Clean “high-touch” surfaces daily. These include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, light switches, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, desks, and tablets. Why?

• Viruses can live on surfaces and be transmitted to a person when they touch that surface. Cleaning frequently touched surfaces every day can help reduce this transmission.