FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) - Wednesday afternoon, Allen County Health officials gave an update on the novel coronavirus in our community.
Allen County now reports 8 patients have tested positive for COVID-19, and the death toll remains the same at one death.
Erika Pitcher, Director of Community Health and Case Management Services at the Allen County Health Department, said many folks are being told by their primary care physicians that they are a presumptive-positive COVID-19 case.
That's because they tested negative for the flu and other illnesses.
However, due to the lack of enough testing at this point, the cannot be counted as a true laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 case.
Pitcher said because these folks aren't being tested, they cannot be counted in local and state totals.
Despite that fact, Pitcher said the health department wants those individuals to act as though they do have COVID-19, and follow CDC guidelines for quarantine.
Dr. Deborah McMahan said we're starting to see patients present some different symptoms that come with COVID-19, including diarrhea and the loss of taste and smell.
Dr. James Cameron, an epidemiologist, said we're still at the beginning stages of the curve.
It takes about two to three weeks of social distancing to see a difference in case numbers, Dr. Cameron said, and he's hopeful this will make a difference in flattening the curve.
Allen County Health Officials are recommending if you were diagnosed with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 OR were clinically diagnosed with COVID-19 based on an evaluation by a physician without laboratory testing here's what you should do:
- Stay home except to get medical care: If you must seek medical care, make sure arrangements are made ahead of time to avoid additional exposures.
- Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home: As much as possible, stay in a specific rom and away from other people and animals. Use a separate bathroom if space allows.
- Wear a facemask: You should wear a facemask if you must be around other people in your home, car or medical provider’s office.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes: Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze and immediately throw the tissue away in a trash can. Immediately wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water or clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol).
- Avoid sharing personal household items: Do not share drinking glasses, plates, eating utensils, towels or bedding with other people or pets in your home. After using these items, they should be washed thoroughly with soap and water.
- Clean all “high-touch” surfaces everyday: High touch surfaces include counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures, toilets, phones, keyboards, tablets and tables. Also clean any surfaces that have blood, stool, or other bodily fluids on them. Use a household cleaning spray or wipe according to the label instructions.
- Monitor your symptoms: Seek prompt medical attention if your illness is worsening (e.g. difficulty breathing). BEFORE seeking care, call your healthcare provider to arrange the visit ahead of time. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, notify the dispatch personnel that you have, or are being evaluated for COVID-19. If possible, wear a face mask before emergency medical services arrive.
When to discontinue home isolation:
Stay home in isolation until at least 7 days have passed from the onset of your illness AND you have been free of fever for 72 hours without the use of fever-reducing medications.
Allen County Health Officials also gave some recommendations to employers:
The incubation period for the novel coronavirus remains at 14 days.
The overall case fatality rate in the United States is around 1.2%, and more than 4% globally.
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