MOUNT VERNON — Knox Public Health Commissioner Julie Miller addressed several topics during her Facebook Live broadcast Wednesday, commenting on the safest manner to conduct business reopenings happening today such as in-door restaurant dining and campgrounds.
The best way to reopen safely is following state guidelines — some of them mandatory — for social distancing, mask-wearing and sanitizing, she said, while also submitting a reopening plan to the county health department for feedback and approval.
Submitting a reopening plan shows that a business is taking the issue of public health with the utmost seriousness and will lower the chances of customer complaints, she offered.
During her half-hour talk, Miller also discussed a community testing plan being developed by KPH that would involve drive-through COVID-19 testing, and should be made available by early June. The drive-through testing would be for those who would like to be tested and meet specific health criteria. Those most likely to be approved for having their specimens collected and sent away for testing will be those in the most at-risk groups, such as elderly persons with chronic diseases, those who have exhibited COVID-19 symptoms and those in essential fields addressing the coronavirus pandemic including healthcare professionals.
The site, or sites, and dates for testing are still to be determined. Miller said how testing will take place, and where, will depend on how many specimen collection kits are available, and how many people have expressed interest to be tested.
The idea to conduct drive-through testing came from a KPH survey question posted last week. The question asked, “If you met COVID-19 testing criteria (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell — or other less common symptoms including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea), would you participate in a drive-thru testing clinic?”
Miller noted that the majority of more than 200 respondents answered they would like to be tested. In the next two weeks, KPH will reach out to the community and ask those who wish to participate to contact the health department. A screening questionnaire will be conducted by phone. Those who complete the questionnaire will be informed if they meet testing criteria, and if they do, they will be given a date, time and place for drive-thru testing.
To date, by means such as calling the local coronavirus hotline, 740-399-8014, a total of 318 specimens have been collected in Knox County for testing. There have been 268 negative results, 23 positive results with three active cases — defined as persons being monitored who have shown some symptoms — 22 pending cases, four probable cases and one death. The age range of those testing positive has ranged from 2 years to 90 years old, with the latter involving the county’s lone death from COVID-19, a man who had lived in Florida for several months before his death in March.
Miller reiterated, as she has done the past several weeks, that KPH will not be doing the “rapid testing” and/or fingerstick test to determine if persons have antibodies showing they had illness previously and have recovered. The US Food and Drug Administration has only approved a few of these tests, “and for all intents and purposes, they are not reliable,” she said. She added these tests have shown too many false positives in the results, as well as false negatives.
Miller also discussed a blood test for antibodies, called the venipuncture test, which she also said will not be used by KPH. The reason is that the test shows if one has developed an immunity but does not show if that same person is infectious, she noted.
Tuesday of next week will be an important date in Ohio, Miller noted, as the governor’s plans allow for the Bureau of Motor Vehicles, gyms and fitness centers, pools, and low-contact/no contact sports such as baseball and softball to begin opening with strict guidelines set in place. The BMV, though it will serve walk-in customers, would prefer to serve them through online means, she added. The Hiawatha Water Park of Mount Vernon, which announced more than a month ago it will close, will remain closed this summer because it fits the definition of a water park, which has not reopened.
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|Results||Age||Gender||Tested in||Details||Current Status|
|3/20||28||Female||Franklin||Works in Franklin County; Not Hospitalized||Recovered|
|3/23||71||Male||Knox||Traveled from Florida; Hospitalized at KCH||Recovered|
|3/29||38||Male||Licking||Works in Franklin County||Recovered|
|3/30||72||Female||Franklin||Hospitalized at KCH||Recovered|
|4/1||90||Male||Florida||Hospitalized in Florida||Deceased|
|4/5||72||Female||Knox||Exposed to a confirmed case in another county||Recovered|
|4/8||28||Male||Knox||Works in Marion County; Not hospitalized||Recovered|
|4/10||77||Female||Knox||No Known Exposure||Recovered|
|4/12||22||Female||Knox||Works in Knox and Franklin County||Recovered|
|4/15||54||Male||Knox||Works in Marion County||Recovered|
|4/19||37||Female||Knox||Works in Richland County||Recovered|
|4/21||39||Male||Knox||Exposure to another confirmed case||Recovered|
|4/22||54||Male||Knox||Works in Knox County||Recovered|
|4/23||45||Male||Knox||Healthcare worker in Marion County||Recovered|
|4/29||79||Female||Knox||Recently returned from Florida||Recovered|
|5/1||58||Male||Franklin||Works in Franklin County||Recovered|
|5/1||32||Male||Knox||Works in Franklin County||Recovered|
|5/3||30||Female||Knox||Works in Licking County||Recovered|
|5/6||56||Female||Knox||Healthcare worker in Mahoning and Knox County||Recovered|
|5/15||56||Female||Franklin||Healthcare worker in Franklin County||Home Isolation|
|5/17||2||Male||Franklin||Tested at Children’s Hospital; Exposed to positive case||Home Isolation|
|5/18||53||Male||Knox||Works in Marion County||Home Isolation|