Polk marks 4th Coronavirus case

Published 3:57 pm Tuesday, March 31, 2020

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EMS workers exposed; put in self quarantine immediately

POLK COUNTY—Polk County announced its 4th presumptive case of the Coronavirus, or COVID-19 on Tuesday as well as a mishap where EMS workers were exposed to the virus. 

Polk County EMS was dispatched to a medical call on Sunday, March 29, where the patient did not identify as a potential COVID-19 case per the county’s protocols. 

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The EMS workers went to the residence unprotected and during the course of the call determined that the patient was suspected of having the virus, based on symptoms and the person’s travel history. The patient later tested positive for COVID-19. 

“During the interaction, the EMS workers were exposed for a period of time without the use of Personal Protective Equipment,” states the county’s release. “No further exposure occurred beyond the EMS crew. The EMS crew was immediately placed into self-quarantine and is now in self-isolation for 14 days starting on the date of exposure. They did not respond or interact with any other people after they were quarantined.” 

County officials said Tuesday that the Polk County Health Department is following public safety protocol and is contacting and interviewing individuals who were in contact with the patient. 

County officials also urge the public when calling for services through 911, to answer questions comprehensively about their symptoms and travel history in order to protect others. 

“This shows the dedication of the emergency responders to the people of Polk County,” said Polk County Manager Marche Pittman. “Together we will all get through this event.” 

Following is more information Polk County officials released Tuesday: 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear from two to 14 days after exposure and can include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Citizens experiencing such symptoms should call their healthcare provider or the Polk County Health Dept. at 828-894-8271. In case of a medical emergency, citizens should dial 9-1-1.

North Carolina currently is under a mandatory stay at home executive order from the governor at least until April 29 to slow the spread of COVID-19. Citizens should stay at their residences and limit social interactions and travel for essential activities or essential business purposes. People should practice social distancing, refrain from nonessential travel, frequently wash their hands and take other precautions to lessen the chances of exposure and spread. More details about North Carolina’s stay at home order can be found in this frequently asked questions document from the governor’s office.