As of 2 p.m. Tuesday, Madison County still had two lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 and announced a number for local questions.
The Madison County Health Department said residents can call (859) 544-6550 and it will be staffed from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. The call number is for local questions regarding the local situation.
The two cases were announced over the weekend, with one involving a 76-year-old female in isolation at Baptist Health Richmond and the other in isolation at their home.
Once the first case was confirmed in the county Saturday, the Madison County Health Department Response Team was activated.
Anne Hatton, clinic nurse administrator at the Madison County Health Department, said the response team consists of appropriate discipline-specific team members that investigate cases to determine the actual extent and potential spread of disease. She added, communication among responders and with principal contacts is maintained until all infected persons have been notified, all required contacts have been made and all at-risk persons have been adequately interviewed.
Hatton told The Register multiple factors determine what follow-up and/or monitoring is needed for both a case and a contact.
The health department is using a process called contact tracing to figure out who to notify.
“People in close contact with someone who is infected with a virus, such as coronavirus, are at higher risk of becoming infected themselves, and of potentially further infecting others,” Hatton said. “Closely watching these contacts after exposure to an infected person will help the contacts to get care and treatment, and will prevent further transmission of the virus.”
According to Hatton, contact tracing can be broken down into three basic steps — contact identification, contact listing and contact follow-up.
• Contact identification: Once someone is confirmed as infected with a virus, contacts are identified by asking about the person’s activities and the activities and roles of the people around them since the onset of illness. Contacts can be anyone who has been in contact with an infected person, such as family members, work colleagues, friends or health care providers.
• Contact listing: All persons considered to have contact with the infected person should be listed as contacts. Efforts should be made to identify every listed contact and to inform them of their contact status, what it means, the actions that will follow and the importance of alerting an EPI nurse if they develop symptoms. Contacts should also be provided with information about prevention of the disease. In some cases, quarantine or isolation is required for high risk contacts, either at home or in hospital.
• Contact follow-up: Regular follow-up should be conducted with all contacts to monitor for symptoms. MCHD follows the most current recommendations from the Department of Public Health.
Madison County Public Health Director Nancy Crewe said the best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
“As we continue to recommend, there are everyday preventative actions you can take to help prevent the spread of this virus,” she added.
The health department offers the following tips:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
• Stay home when you are sick
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
Symptoms of COVID-19 may include fever, dry cough or shortness of breath.
Jonathan Greene is the editor of The Register; follow him on Twitter @jgreeneRR.