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   Even though there are no cases of COVID-19 that have tested positive in our county we do expect that there will be. So far in Doddridge County there have been 19 people who have been tested with 13 of those tests coming back negative. The other 6 are pending results sometime this week.

   Testing is being offered in Doddridge County at Ritchie Regional Health Center (304-873-1401) and Ritchie Regional Wellness Center.(304-873-0060). If you believe you have symptoms of COVID-19 and your condition is becoming worse rather than better you need to call one of these agencies and answer a few questions. If you do qualify for testing an appointment will be set up for you. 

   Doddridge County Health Department employees have been busy with surveillance activities to help slow or stop the spread of the virus to the fullest extent possible. The DCHD staff have participated in multiple telephone conferences with State Officials, PACT Regional Team, Local Partners, and even Governor Justice on a daily basis. These teleconferences update Local Health Departments on current developments and updates on the number of positive cases in the counties and cover what to look for in surveillance activities, how to properly manage people who have been exposed to the virus, people who have been tested and are waiting on results, people who have traveled from an area of active COVID-19 cases, and people who have tested positive for the virus.

   We are currently under a “STAY AT HOME ORDER” per the Governor.  This means that only ESSENTIAL SERVICE PERSONNEL should still be working and all personnel who not essential to be working in the office should remain in their home away from other people. These employees can do their work at home if needed.

   No matter what you are doing you need to stay at a distance of at least 6 feet away from anyone else. This decreases the likelihood of spread of the disease and slows down the progression.

The President just extended the social distancing order through April 30, 2020.

   The Governor’s Stay at Home order is still in effect. With the stay at home order it is best to just stay at home with your immediate family. If you must check on a loved one, go to the grocery store, need to pick up your medication, or go to the doctor for something that can not wait you are permitted to do so. While doing this you should take precautions while you are out. Be sure to stay at least 6 feet away from the next person, utilize alcohol hand sanitizer and wipes being careful not to have germs on your hands. Do not touch your face, eyes, or mouth. Be aware of your surroundings if someone is coughing and sneezing steer clear of them if possible.

   Once you return home you should strip your clothes off immediately and put them in the washer, take a shower getting all the germs off your body, out of your hair, etc… You should spray any items that you had with you with disinfectant.  Even your mail and your grocery bags can have COVID-19 virus on them so take the appropriate precautions.

Once a person has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus or has been exposed and are waiting on test results it is very important that this person self-quarantines staying away from other people and monitoring their symptoms at least until their test results come back.

Not just anyone can get tested there is criteria that has to be met. Individuals are prioritized for testing by the WV Bureau for Public Health and include the following:

1. Seriously ill individuals hospitalized or otherwise at high risk of complications. This includes seriously ill individuals with symptoms of COVID-19 (Fever, cough, shortness of breath) who are

a. Hospitalized

b. Near hospitalization

c. Otherwise at highest risk of poor health outcomes including

i. Persons over the age of 65

ii. Those with serious underlying chronic disease

iii. Those living in nursing homes or assisted living facilities  

d. Who do not have another identified cause for their illness. Must have a negative respiratory panel. If the provider is unable to perform respiratory testing the testing can be done at the Office of Laboratory Services prior to COVID-19 testing.

No history or potential exposure is needed for these patients.

2. Individuals at medium to high risk of having been infected : This includes any individual with symptoms of lower respiratory illness. (Fever, cough, shortness of breath) and:

a. A history of likely exposure to COVID-19 within the past 14 days of their symptom onset.

i. Close contact with an individual confirmed to have COVID-19 or

ii. Travel history from or living in areas with widespread community transmission.

b. Who do not have another identified cause for their illness.  Must have a negative respiratory panel. If the provider is unable to perform the respiratory testing the testing can be done at Office of Laboratory Services prior to COVID-19 testing.

Areas with widespread community transmission include:

a. US states with sustained community transmission such as California, Washington State, and New York. 

b. Countries with sustained community transmission which include: Iran, China, South Korea, and most of Europe.

c. Cruise ship travel is also considered an area of widespread transmission.

Anyone has traveled to our county from an area with widespread COVID-19 illnesses should self-quarantine for 14 days. Each day this person should track their symptoms and their temperature at least twice per day. If symptoms or high fever occur within those 14 does the person should be further evaluated and if approved should be tested for COVID-19.