POMEROY — The Meigs County Health Department has had some questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 testing in Meigs County and the process involved, so we would like to let you know how the process works.
If an individual believes they have COVID-19, they need to contact their primary care provider.
The provider will then run multiple respiratory tests, and if they believe the patient needs a COVID-19 test, the provider has been advised to contact an area hospital. These hospitals have teams who screen whether or not the patient meets criteria to have a test completed. Tests and testing supplies are very limited at this time.
If a patient meets the testing criteria, they will be directed to a local facility to have a sample taken, which will be sent to a private testing company or the Ohio Department of Health. These individuals will then be sent back home and advised to quarantine until the test results are back. If a patient is hospitalized, the sample will be taken at the hospital and sent to one of the testing agencies.
In the event the patient does not have a primary care provider:
The patient should call the local health department who will screen them to determine whether or not a test is advised. The health department will then contact the hospital. The hospital staff will then contact the patient to set up an appointment for the test sample to be collected.
When test results return, they are sent to the primary care provider and/or the hospital, who will relay the results to the patient. If the test results come back positive, it is also sent to the local health department, who then considers the individual to be a Person Under Investigation (PUI). At that point, the health department would begin an investigation, which would identify individuals with whom the patient had had contact and places the individual has visited. The health department will also take the appropriate steps to quarantine the individual(s) for the appropriate amount of time.
This makes it very difficult for the local health department to track the number of individuals being tested, as there are multiple hospitals with collection sites, which county residents utilize.
We would like to reiterate Meigs County still has no confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of 4 p.m. on March 27, 2020.
If you have questions, please call the Ohio Department of Health’s Hotline at 1-833-ASKODH (1-833-427-5634) or visit www.coronavirus.ohio.gov. You can also contact the Meigs County Health Department Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. at 740-992-6626 or at www.meigs-health.com.
Brody Davis is the Meigs County Health Department Public Health Emergency Response Coordinator and Public Information Officer.