Meigs Health Department Message to the Community
EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is a statement from the Meigs County Health Department to the Community. It is published in its entirety without editing from the Meigs Independent Press.
COVID-19 Message to the Community
The recent spike in COVID-19 cases has greatly impacted the efforts being made by health departments across the state to contact positive cases and complete contact tracing. The Meigs County Health Department (MCHD) is, unfortunately, not an exception to this. As the community is aware, we have a relatively small staff, and we are working as fast as we can to process positive COVID-19 cases in the order they are received.
Normally, when an individual receives a positive test from their provider, the information has not been sent to the MCHD. In a perfect world, this information would be sent to use at the same time as the person receives his/her call, but unfortunately it is not. Providers and labs currently have up to 24 hours to submit this information to the health department, so we may be unaware of your result for an extended period. We ask that you please do not call the health department about your positive result; we will call you when we receive this information. In the meantime, a person who tests positive should contact those they know who qualify as their contacts, which is anyone who was within 6 feet of them for a 15-minute cumulative period from 48 hours prior to the person developing symptoms OR a positive test date, whichever came first. Those contacts must quarantine for 14 days from their last date of contact with the positive person. Please tell the contacts NOT to contact the health department; these calls hold us up from calling other cases ahead of you.
The Meigs County Health Department has also received new guidance on contact tracing. Effective immediately, we will interview the positive case and will quarantine their household members that qualify as contacts. Other contacts will be contacted only if they live or work in a congregate setting, which will be determined at the time of the health department’s call to the positive case. Quarantine Letters will be issued to the positive case and his/her household members in one letter. Other contacts will receive a copy of a letter from the positive person that states they are a contact and should quarantine for 14 days from the last date of contact with the positive person. We have had individuals with over 20 contacts each, so please bear with us during this process.
Additionally, the MCHD makes changes according to CDC guidance and only after the Ohio Department of Health has instructed us to do so. We have chosen to maintain quarantine for contacts for 14 days. Per the CDC and Ohio Department of Health, 14 days is the “optimal duration to minimize risk of transmission.”
Prior to today, we have 180 Active COVID-19 cases within Meigs County, and this number is rising quickly, sometimes with over 20 new cases per day. Having said that, we truly appreciate your patience and hope that you understand that we are here for you, and we are doing our best with the resources available.