The Bloomingtonian

Monroe County Health Department answers COVID-19 questions

(Editor note – These answers came in Friday night, but while chasing leads into the evening, The Bloomingtonian is just now posting this story.)

By Jeremy Hogan, and Marci Creps

On Thursday, the Monroe County Health Department sent out a press release stating there have been no positive cases of COVID-19 in Monroe County. Penny Caudill, health administrator for the county health department, said sending the information out was necessary due to so many rumors around the county.

In the release, Caudill confirmed that because of short supplies, “tests have been triaged for those at highest risk. We are hopeful this situation will be resolved soon and testing will become more readily available.”

In an email to the Bloomingtonian, Caudill said most local health departments, including Monroe County, do not have labs.

Caudill said there are no test kits, “and we want to be clear that having symptoms could be seasonal influenza, another respiratory virus or possibly COVID-19 and without a test, you won’t know for certain.”

If someone tests positive, the diagnosis is reportable. “So when a lab does a test, they are required to report that to the health department,” Caudill said in an email. Following a positive test result, she said the health department (state or local) would conduct an investigation to identify close contacts of the patient and ensure everyone has the necessary knowledge moving forward.

Caudill is aware of the many rumors circulating about people testing positive for COVID-19. She said that was the reason she sent out a press release Thursday.

The local health department relies heavily on the Centers for Disease Control for guidance during such an event. “They put out a lot and much is being added. Since this is new, things also change so it can be difficult to keep up,” she said.

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