Washington County— The Washington County Health Department (WCHD) announces a positive case of 2019 coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Washington County. The individual is a 53 year old male with no known history of international travel. He is isolated and seeking appropriate medical care. He will remain isolated until cleared by public health officials. All contacts have been asked to self-isolate for the next 14 days and are being monitored.
Karen Johnson, Washington County Health Officer stated, “We are working closely with the patient, close contacts and healthcare providers to determine what additional COVID-19 testing may be required. We are also coordinating with local and state officials to ensure proper precautions are being taken to prevent the spread of the virus. I want to stress that social distancing is key to protect those who are most at risk – individuals age 65 and older and those with underlying medical conditions.”
COVID-19 can spread from person to person through small droplets from the nose or mouth, including when an individual coughs or sneezes. These droplets may land on objects and surfaces. Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose or mouth.
Symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, cough and shortness of breath. Symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days following exposure. Most people recover from the COVID-19 without needing special treatment. The elderly and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness.
There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. As a reminder, the Department always recommends everyday preventive actions to help impede the spread of respiratory diseases, including:
• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
• Staying home when you are sick and avoiding contact with persons in poor health
• Avoiding touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hand;
• Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then disposing of the tissue
• Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
• Always wash hands with soap and water if hands are visibly dirty
• Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The CDC does not recommend that asymptomatic, healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from respiratory diseases, including COVID-19. Facemasks should be used by people who show symptoms of COVID-19 to help prevent the spread of the disease to others. The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).
A person that experiences a fever and symptoms of respiratory illness, such as fever, cough or shortness of breath, within 14 days after travel to or from an affected geographic area with widespread community transmission including international travel or a cruise and any other destination under CDC travel advisory should call ahead to their health care provider and local county health department (CHD) and mention their recent travel or close contact.
If a person has had close contact with someone showing these symptoms who has recently traveled from this area or been in contact with a person with laboratory-confirmed COVID-19, they should call ahead to a health care professional and the county health department. The health care professional will work with the Department to determine if the person should be tested for COVID-19.
Please visit the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage at www.FloridaHealth.gov/COVID-19. This remains the best and most up-to-date resource for information and guidance regarding COVID-19 in Florida.
For any other questions related to COVID-19 in Florida, please contact the Department’s dedicated COVID-19 Call Center by calling 1-866-779-6121 or emailing COVIDfirstname.lastname@example.org. The Call Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The Washington County Health Department is also operating a call center in house and may be reached at 850-845-5105.
In addition, please visit http://www.floridahealth.gov/all-county-locations.html to locate and obtain contact information for your local CHD.
The CDC also has a website with information related to COVID-19: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.