Protocols for Suspected Cases and Testing
By Tiffani Ireland
Edgefield County has had no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 since its first case was reported Mar. 21, according to Emergency Management Director Suzy Spurgeon who spoke to the Advertiser in an interview Wednesday, Mar. 25. However, Spurgeon did say that there are “several people” throughout the county whose doctors believe they might have the dreaded virus. Spurgeon also said, “There are probably a lot of people who have it who don’t know.”
So what is being done about those “suspected” cases, and exactly who gets the test and who does not? Spurgeon advised that as for the people in the county that have been identified by doctors as probable COVID-19 cases, those patients are being quarantined. Quarantine protocols, however, vary. If a patient is symptomatic, that person is quarantined for 7 days. They must go three days after this 7 day period without a fever or the use of fever reduction medication, and, if they had a cough, must see that cough lessen before they can stop the quarantine. If a person has been exposed to the virus by what is being called 1stcontact prolonged exposure (meaning a person spent 5 minutes or more in the presence of a person who has tested positive or who is suspected of having the virus), then that person must enter a 14 day (2 week) quarantine. The quarantine is greater for those without symptoms but who have had exposure because it takes 2-12 days for symptoms to develop. However, if during that 14 day quarantine the patient begins to show symptoms, they then revert back to the 7 day quarantine protocol.
As for who gets tested, Director Spurgeon advised that it will not be everybody. EVEN IF YOU HAVE SYMPTOMS, YOU MAY NOT BE TESTED. Spurgeon said that not everybody with symptoms is being tested “because they’re just too many.” Spurgeon said that testing is mostly being done on patients who fit the high risk category (those with asthma, heart disease, or lung issues) or those who are exhibiting severe symptoms. In any case, it is up to the attending doctor as to whether or no they will order testing according to Spurgeon. Testing is currently being conducted through DHEC and private labs.
According to the Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC), symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough, or shortness of breath. Self Memorial Healthcare has established a telephone screening that residents of Edgefield County who are experiencing symptoms may call. That COVID-19 screening number is 864-725-4200. Other medical facilities across the state have also established telehealth resources for those experiencing symptoms. A list of those providers can be found at DHECs website, www.scdhec.gov. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, DHEC does advise that you contact your health care provider.