Polk has test kits

Published 1:45 pm Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

Local doctors can also use a private lab

COLUMBUS—Test kits for the Coronavirus are available in Polk County. 

As the virus creeps closer to the area in the last few days, with cases now in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia, Polk County health officials are continuing to meet and prepare. 

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Polk County Health and Human Services Agency Director Joshua Kennedy said Monday that there are no cases in Polk County and if that occurs his agency will issue a release. 

“Each county has also been supplied with test kits from the state lab, however, the use of the state supplied test kits has to be approved by State Communicable Disease Branch after consultation with the patient’s physician,” Kennedy said. “Individuals can also be tested by their own provider, who can use a private lab. If someone believes they are ill and has concerns that it may be related to COVID-19 they should call ahead to their provider prior to being seen.” 

Kennedy also said county officials have increased its outreach efforts with community stakeholders, including local healthcare providers and schools by either phone and in person recently. He said as information, guidance and prevention strategies concerning the virus are updated his agency is communicating the information to local healthcare providers. 

“We are also reminding partners to review their communicable disease and safety protocols in relation to any guidance from the state or (Centers for Disease Control),” Kennedy said. “In addition, the Polk County Health and Human Services Agency and Emergency Management routinely reviews our preparedness plans and we utilized the time from the announcement of the outbreak in China to today for a collaborative effort for overall planning and response. This was done to insure that our partners are aware of action steps should we be called to respond to this event.” 

Polk County HHSA is also reminding people the importance of using the North Carolina Health and Human Services and CDC websites for current and accurate information concerning the virus to avoid misinformation.

Steps recommended for area residents from the Polk County HHSA to prevent the spread of Coronavirus and other respiratory illnesses, like the flu:  

  • Wash hands frequently with soap and water, and for at least 20 seconds each time.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are ill.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
  • Do not reuse tissue after coughing, sneezing, or blowing your nose.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched.
  • Get a flu shot, it’s not too late. During this time of year, respiratory illnesses in North Carolina are most likely due to infection with influenza or viruses that cause the common cold.
  • If you are concerned that you or a family member has fever and cough or other flu-like symptoms after recent travel to affected geographical areas, call ahead to the hospital before you go. Going to the hospital without calling ahead could expose other people to the virus.