The Lincoln County Health Department released the following statement today about its response efforts and testing information.
"The Lincoln County Health Department is working in partnership with other local, regional and state officials to implement prevention and mitigation strategies for our communities based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by state leadership. We have a local preparedness plan for pandemics that we practice at least once a year, and this plan is the basis for our response. Our local leaders are empowered to make decisions based on the needs of the residents of Lincoln County and are doing so.
"We're working to ensure that everyone in Lincoln County that has a clinical picture consistent with COVID-19 can be tested. It’s important to note this process is not like a rapid flu test conducted during a regular doctor’s office visit, with results provided on the spot. Testing for COVID-19 is conducted in the laboratory, so tests themselves are not distributed to health care facilities. Rather, health care providers take samples from their patients and submit them to a laboratory for testing.
"Many health care providers can assess patients for COVID-19 and collect samples to submit for testing. People who have concerns about their health should contact their regular health care providers, who can assess their risk and determine if they should be tested. People who don’t have insurance and have concerns they may have symptoms of COVID-19 can contact the Lincoln County Health Department for consultation and to talk through potential options for testing in their area.
"Most people, particularly those with mild or no symptoms, do not need assessment for COVID-19. We are prioritizing testing of people in high-risk categories: contacts of confirmed cases; people in occupations with exposure to large numbers of contacts; health care workers; nursing home residents; severely immunocompromised patients; critically ill patients; pregnant women; and people who have traveled to areas with high case counts.
"Again, anyone concerned about their health should first contact their regular health care provider. If you feel you need treatment, call the health care provider or facility first, so they can arrange for your arrival if you need to come in and can accommodate you while reducing risk of exposing other people to illness."