MOUNT VERNON — COVID-19 drive-through testing for Knox County residents will be offered next week Wednesday through Friday at no cost to those tested.
Up to 100 people can be tested each day, Knox Public Health Spokesperson Pam Palm said Wednesday. Those interested in being tested may call the county’s coronavirus hotline, (740) 399-8014, starting Monday, she said. The tests, involving nasal swabs, are by appointment only. They will be performed by public health nurses with the individuals being tested remaining in their vehicles. The swab specimens will be delivered to the Ohio Department of Health in Columbus, where state labs will confirm if specimens test positive or negative for the coronavirus.
You do not have to have shown symptoms to be tested, Palm offered. Many carriers of the coronavirus are asymptomatic, meaning they carry the virus and can spread it but show few if any symptoms themselves. Thus, identifying asymptomatic carriers becomes one of the benefits of community testing, so those individuals can be placed in isolation for a minimum of two weeks while contact tracing is initiated to determine who their close contacts were.
Three hundred tests over three days should suffice but if more people than that number desire to be tested, she said, the county is already pursuing the purchase of additional specimen tests from a source outside ODH. Those who call in seeking to be tested will be asked for their contact information, and asked some health-related questions such as if they have a physician and have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus.
“Nobody that I know of will be turned away,” Palm said. “Anybody who wants to be tested will be tested.”
A total of 365 Knox County residents have been tested for COVID-19 to date, with just 23 confirmed positive cases and one death involving an elderly man who had lived in Florida for several months before his death. The three-day community testing period will nearly double the number of county residents tested, but Palm said she could not comment if KPH expects the number of positive cases to increase substantially.
The Knox County Board of Health Wednesday approved the acceptance of several supplemental funds from ODH and the federal government to offset the impact of COVID-19 to the health department. Included was accepting $141,844 from the Health Resources and Services Administration, to be used for expanding testing capabilities and health center operations. Some of the funds will be used to pay for the community testing, county Health Commissioner Julie Miller said. The county health department also received $224,732 in additional Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act Stimulus Relief funds to offset general fund expenditures related to COVID-19; $64,917 for contact tracing funds; and $24,795 for COVID-19 response funding from ODH.
The latter funds can be used to offset some of the time the county’s environmental health department has spent responding to COVID-19 related community concerns. There have been more than 200 complaints involving businesses to date, and a majority of them, environmental health Director Nate Overholt said, have involved concern over masks.
The state and federal funds approved Wednesday were considered supplemental, like last month, the county Board of Health approved state and federal coronavirus-related funds totaling $678,756. The largest of those funds was $572,135 paid through the CARES act, which Miller said would be used for the detection, prevention, diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19.
There is flexibility built into the funds that will allow KPH to spend the funds on uses such as new equipment to expand services such as Telehealth, for more PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) to serve healthcare workers, to expand access to care, and for personnel needs as they arise.
In other business, the health board, which met online via the Zoom application, approved the personnel policy manual. Joyce Frazee, human resources supervisor, said the manual involved an internal review of 102 policies. The only significant change was the addition of five days of bereavement leave for those employees who have lost an immediate family member.
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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||Home Isolation|
|5/15||56||Female||Franklin||Healthcare worker in Franklin County||Recovered|
|5/17||2||Male||Franklin||Tested at Children’s Hospital; Exposed to positive case||Recovered|
|5/18||53||Male||Knox||Works in Marion County||Recovered|
SOURCE:Knox Public Health May 28, 2020 @ 5:15 p.m.