With every cough right now comes a little concern and that concern more often than not means people are wondering if they have come into contact with the coronavirus.
As of now, Daviess County Public Health Nurse Kathy Sullender said there are no positive cases of COVID-19, commonly known as the coronavirus, in Daviess County, but there are some other illnesses that share some of same symptoms.
“We are seeing high cases of influenza B and strep throat in our community. Symptoms are similar to COVID-19,” said Sullender. “Those with fever, dry cough, sore throat should be tested for influenza and strep throat. If flu and strep tests are negative, the person should self-quarantine for 14 days.”
The only way to know if you have the virus is through a test, and there are only certain people who meet the criteria to be tested.
Sullender said the only persons who qualify for COVID-19 testing at this time are those:
1. Admitted to the hospital with fever and lower respiratory symptoms constituting: admission for respiratory issues and all other testing is negative for flu and other illnesses.
2. Health care workers (inpatient, outpatient, nursing home and other long-term care facilities) who provide direct patient care to at-risk patients who are:
- Symptomatic with fever and lower respiratory symptoms and in their role has potential or unknown exposure to at risk patients.
- Negative for all other sources of infections such as flu and other illnesses.
3. Long-term care facility residents or prison/jail residents and staff (who have direct contact with patients or inmates) who are:
- Symptomatic with fever and respiratory illness and otherwise no known COVID-19 contact.
- Negative for other respiratory illnesses such as flu.
“We have had many false reports of positive COVID-19,” said Sullender, who reminds the public that the Daviess County Health Department will notify the community should a positive case happen.
If there is a positive test result for the COVID-19, Sullender said there’s quite a process:
Your specimen is collected at a hospital. Your specimen is taken to the Indiana State Department of Health lab. The ISDH will notify the Daviess County Health Department if your address is listed in Daviess County. They notify the health department of pending testing. Once the test results are completed, the ISDH will notify the health department of the results — both positive and negative.
If you have your testing done through a commercial lab, the commercial lab will report through our current reporting system and the health department will be notified.
It does not matter where you get your testing done. If you are in Florida or California and you list your address as Daviess County, the results will be sent to the Daviess County Health Department.
So if you don’t meet the criteria to be tested but have symptoms, self-quarantining will be necessary.
“Self-quarantine means you stay home. Wash your hands frequently, wipe down surfaces with disinfectants frequently. You should cover your cough,” said Sullender, adding there is no medicine and no vaccine to cure COVID-19. “The quarantine is to stop the spread of the disease. If you test positive for the flu and/or strep throat, please stay home. No one should work sick or with a fever. Stay home.”
As of now, Sullender said there are no restrictions on travel within Indiana or other states but that could also change.
“If you are traveling, you do not know if COVID-19 is there. Continue to wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, cover your cough, social distancing of at least six feet from those around you. We recommend to postpone your travel plans for a later time,” she said. “Please stay home if you are sick. Even if you are well, please limit your travel, errands and stay home as much as possible. This is a constantly changing situation”