It was only a question of when. According to a report from the Dubois County Free Press, as of March 22, 2020, the first-ever presumptive positive COVID-19 patient has been identified in Dubois County. No information regarding the patient has been released, although the health department will be attempting to contact those with whom the patient has had close contact for monitoring and testing where appropriate.
There’s no need to panic about this inevitable circumstance coming to fruition. The Dubois County Health Department (“DCHD”) recommends that everyone continue to practice the following six steps in order to prevent the spread of the virus:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
- Avoid close contact (within 6 feet) with people who are sick. Practice social distancing otherwise.
- Stay home when you are sick, unless you’re seeking healthcare.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
Please follow this link to review the Indiana State Department of Health’s Frequently Asked Questions regarding COVID-19. It contains a large volume of detailed information that everyone should know.
I’m Freaking Out, Man!
It’s a time of deep concern that has left so many of us stressed about both the known and unknown consequences of not only the virus, but the historic actions being taken to control its spread. The DCHD has published a resource for all of us to use to help minimize and control the stressful feelings the circumstance has caused. Importantly, this resource contains, among other things, phone numbers you can call to get help dealing with the mental toll of the situation we’re in. Never be afraid to ask for help.
I Want To Get Tested For COVID-19! What Do I Do?!
As explained separately below, ZipMed Urgent Care is not directly providing testing for COVID-19 at this time. However, appropriate cases may be referred to the Indiana State Department of Health via the patient’s county health department for testing. According to a press release from the Dubois County Health Department, as of time of this writing, the following presentations are appropriate for testing referral:
- 1) Patients requiring hospitalization with fever and lower respiratory symptoms.
- 2) Healthcare workers (inpatient, outpatient, nursing home, and other long-term service facilities) and EMS staff who provide direct patient care to at risk patients and who are symptomatic with fever and lower respiratory symptoms and in their role as potential or unknown exposure to at risk patients.
- 3) Long-term care facility residents or prison/jail residents and staff (who have direct contact with patients or inmates) and who are symptomatic with fever and respiratory illness or otherwise no known COVID-19 contact.
- 4) Persons experiencing homelessness and who are symptomatic with fever and respiratory illness and otherwise no known COVID-19 contact.
Unfortunately, unless you meet one of the circumstances above, it is unlikely you will be able to be tested at this time. It is expected that more testing capacity will be coming onboard in the near future, and we will immediately advise if testing requirements are relaxed.
Why isn’t ZipMed Urgent Care currently testing for COVID-19?
While other testing methods may be available soon, as of the time of this writing, current testing methods for the COVID-19 virus require the taking of a nasopharyngeal swab. In layman’s terms, that procedure involves what is basically a long Q-tip being inserted deeply into one nostril and then swirled about, and then repeated in the other nostril.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), when collecting diagnostic respiratory specimens (e.g., nasopharyngeal swab) from a possible COVID-19 patient, the person collecting the sample should be wearing an N-95 or higher level respirator, eye protection, gloves and a gown. As of time of this writing, the respirators are completely unavailable; gowns are in very short supply if available at all. Even what used to be the commonly-available simple face masks are in very short supply. Deaconess Health System in Evansville has requested the public’s help in sewing reusable fabric masks for the grim circumstance that supplies otherwise run out.
Thus, ZipMed Urgent Care is unable to perform the testing, as we are unable to obtain the required personal protective equipment to safely do so by current CDC recommendations. In the event that the CDC recommendations change or additional testing means become available, we will offer COVID-19 testing as appropriate.