“Quarantine means to stay home” is the message that Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) is communicating to the public following a sharp spike in the number of COVID-19 cases reported to the health department over the weekend.
Thirty-five new confirmed cases were reported over the weekend, bringing the current total of actively ill county residents to 67. As of Monday, there were 170 Fayette County residents in isolation or quarantine as a result of COVID-19, according to FCPH. There are eight individuals in the hospital.
FCPH Deputy Health Commissioner Leigh Cannon emphasized the importance of following quarantine protocols if you are identified as a close contact.
“If you are asked to quarantine, I cannot stress enough that it is important to stay in quarantine for the full length of time, which is 14 days from the last date of contact with a positive COVID-19 case,” Cannon said. “People have said that they feel fine, and they want to get tested so they can leave quarantine, but you cannot test your way out of quarantine. It can take 2-14 days after you have been exposed for symptoms to appear and if you are tested too early it may result in a false negative.”
“It is also important to stay away from others after an exposure,” Cannon said. “Just because someone has been in your social bubble up to the point that you are quarantined does not mean it is safe for you to continue to be around them. Once you know you have been exposed and need to quarantine, stay home and stay away from others. If it is at all possible to isolate yourself from other members of your household, please do that. The virus needs people to move. If we follow the CDC guidance once we know we have been exposed, we can stop the virus from moving and stop the spread.”
“Our staff has been working tirelessly on contact tracing,” said Cannon, “With this many cases, the process takes time so if you are aware that you are a contact of someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, please stay home, even if we have not made contact with you yet.”
FCPH is asking for the public’s cooperation with contact tracing.
“If someone from the health department calls you, please answer the call,” said Cannon. “It is important for us to be able to identify who may have been exposed so that we can notify them, place them in quarantine and monitor their symptoms.”
“Our staff does not reveal your identity to those you identify as contacts,” Cannon said, adding that while health department staff will keep your identity private, anyone who tests positive is encouraged to notify people they have been around if they feel comfortable doing so.
As far as the source of the sudden increase in cases, FCPH is still looking for answers.
“We have not completed investigations yet,” said Cannon, “but at this point the increase appears to be related to the recent outbreak, household members of confirmed cases, and community spread.”
Cannon noted that there have been 50 new cases with a symptom onset over the last two-week period, adding that the number is preliminary and may rise as new cases are identified.
“During the two week period before that, there were 17 new cases,” she said, “so we are seeing a significant increase. We are triggering several indicators on the Ohio Public Health Alert Advisory System due to the number of new cases, number of days with a sustained increase, and the fact that most of the cases are from community spread and not located in a congregate setting.”
What should you do if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or you think you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19?
Contact your medical provider. If you do not have a medical provider, contact an urgent care or same day care clinic. It is important to call before you go because most providers have special instructions to protect the staff and other patients.
Once you have been tested:
-If you have had suspected or known exposure or ongoing symptoms, stay home, monitor your health, and talk to your doctor or other healthcare provider.
-If you do not have signs or symptoms, but have known or suspected exposure to COVID-19, stay home since symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure to an infected person.
For more information, please visit www.faycohd.org or www.coronavirus.ohio.gov.