Health departments give update on COVID-19 testing


Staff Report



The Health Departments would like to address testing. A person meeting the qualifications can be tested at the site of their choosing. For guidelines regarding testing go to https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/healthcare-providers-and-local-health-districts/for-healthcare-providers/lab-testing-for-covid-19. You will see that the qualifications for testing are strict. Many people will not qualify. So, how does this affect the population?

Let us use Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) as an example (we use them because we have the best access to data for comparison) As of Sunday, April 19, 2020, SOMC had performed 518 tests in their ER, Urgent Care, and Drive-thru test site. The Portsmouth City Health Department received 5 positive test results from those tests. At that same point in time, the total number of positive results for the County was 6 because one person tested outside our local health system. The data shows that of the 518 tested, only 370 were from Scioto County. So, of the roughly 74,000 persons living in the County, only .5 percent have been tested.

The testing guidelines previously referenced state:

· Testing does not change treatment. The treatment for COVID-19 is supportive. There is no medication that treats COVID-19.

· A negative test does not mean that you will never get COVID-19. If you are exposed after testing, or if you were in the incubation period when tested, you could become ill with COVID-19 later.

Ohio public health experts have estimated that a significant portion of the population could be infected with COVID-19 due to community spread. According to ODH: Most individuals that have the disease are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Based on how quickly the virus multiplies and infects people and based on the modeling, it is reasonable to assume that there are thousands of Ohioans who may have been infected and not know it. For the entire article go to: https://coronavirus.ohio.gov/wps/portal/gov/covid-19/families-and-individuals/how-can-you-respond/covid-19-and-community-spread.

Do not rely on testing exclusively. To protect yourself and others from COVID-19 by taking these precautions:

· Stay home and if you must go out practice Social Distancing

· Wash hands often with water and soap (20 seconds or longer)

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands or after touching surfaces

· Clean and disinfect “High-Touch” surfaces often

· Cover your mouth with a tissue or sleeve when coughing or sneeze

If you have questions please call the City Health Department at 740-353-5153, the County- Health Department at 740-355-8358, or the 24/7 Help line at 740-354-8931.

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Staff Report