TAYLOR COUNTY—As county officials continue to keep a close eye on the Coronavirus situation and work to help mitigate the threat, Taylor County has officially seen a case of the virus.
Taylor County Health Officer Dr. David Bender reported Friday morning that through testing completed at the drive through mobile testing unit, a joint effort by the Grafton-Taylor County Health Department and Grafton City Hospital, earlier in the week, a positive case was identified.
He noted that the patient was not a resident of the county, residing in neighboring Harrison County.
“There are no positive results for any Taylor County residents at this time, however there are a number of pending tests,” he disclosed. “By next week, the outcome may be very different.”
According to Grafton-Taylor County Threat Preparedness Coordinator Shawn Thorn, the mobile testing unit set up operation a week ago, and each day they have seen progressively more patients who are qualifying for the evaluation.
“We were set up on Saturday, but did not receive our first patient until Tuesday,” he said. “We saw three individuals on the first day, six on the second and today, we tested nine patients.”
Thorn revealed that the process for the assessment is really quite simple.
“If someone feels that they have been infected with Coronavirus, they should first call Grafton City Hospital at 304-265-0400, and let the operator know that they are calling in reference to the screening for the virus,” he reported.
Individuals will then be asked a series of questions as medical personnel work to triage them over the phone. Once it has been determined that someone is being considered a ‘Person Under Investigation,’ they will be issued an appointment time to utilize the drive-through testing.
“The patient will be given an appointment time and directed to our site, at Grafton High School,” Thorn said.
Upon arrival, individuals will be greeted by a security officer, who is tasked with ensuring no unauthorized person gains access to the testing site, which could lead to their exposure to the virus.
“Community safety is our top priority, so the officer will be checking to make sure the patient does in fact have an appointment time,” Thorn noted.
Once verified, the patient will then be directed to a location where Dr. Bender will provide for them a mask and hand sanitizer, as well as information pertaining to their 14-day mandatory quarantine period.
“After that is done, Bender will perform a swab collection, in which multiple tests will be performed for illnesses such as the flu and strep throat, to rule out any other illnesses,” Thorn revealed. “Patients will feel some slight discomfort during the swabbing for COVID-19, but it is not painful.”
Coronavirus swabs will be sent to LabCorp and will yield results in 10-12 days, while the swabs obtained for flu and strep throat testing will be handled through Grafton City Hospital’s laboratory and results will be available the same day.
Thorn noted that only in cases where a patient is considered high risk will the COVID-19 swab be sent to the state lab for analysis.
“Simply being in contact with someone who is COVID-19 positive will not qualify a patient for the expedite testing,” he disclosed. “Only those cases where someone is pregnant, has severe underlying health conditions or is at high risk of passing the virus along, think healthcare workers and first responders, will be considered as the most severe or at-risk cases.”
Once the testing, which takes only a matter of moments, is complete, patients will then return home to begin their isolation period.
While there are no confirmed cases among residents as of yet, Bender and Thorn would like to remind individuals that there are simple precautions they can still take to help flatten the curve, including frequent hand washing, avoiding touching your face, following the recommended six foot social distancing guidelines and limiting public exposure.
“Coronavirus is a real threat,” voiced Bender. “We will continue to test residents who meet the criteria. We need to step up our game and do what needs to be done to flatten the curve.”