The COVID Contact Center in Jacksonville is seeing a steady stream of participants, with timely results for testing.
The Morgan County Health Department opened testing at the new location one week ago, and Administrator of the health department, Dale Bainter says increased testing is crucial to lowering the county’s positivity rate, and a quick turn around for accurate test results is vital in slowing community spread.
He says the health department is seeing timely results consistently compared to varying reports from testing sites around the state.
“There are so many different factors at play there, and there are so many different agencies performing testing and using different resources. We have labs that are performing COVID tests for different entities around the area from as far away as Texas. So they send those samples back to their labs to run those and if they are inundated with a lot of samples at one time there can be a delay.
Our samples go directly to the IDPH ran lab in Springfield, Illinois. We get those over there daily by courier and we have had a really good success of having those tests back within a 24 hours.”
Bainter says now that we are a few weeks removed from Labor Day, there is not necessarily data just yet showing a spike in cases from the holiday weekend, however recent test results are showing a trend that is concerning for health department officials.
“We can look at our numbers yesterday and they were a little concerning. We had fourteen new cases, and the key that really stuck out for me was that only three of those individuals were over the age of fifty. So out of the fourteen, we had eleven of them that were under forty, we even had some children and a lot of young individuals in their twenties and thirties as well.
That’s kind of one of those details if you look into it that concerns you a little bit, and that’s the trend we are seeing nationwide, we are seeing younger and younger individuals infected with the virus.”
Bainter says even though younger people see less issues with COVID, including many times being asymptomatic, there is still reason for concern of the spread of the virus through the younger populations.
“We’ve seen the statistics of a lot of asymptomatic cases, and you know when we are young and healthy and we have that good immune system hopefully we won’t have complications. There is some data out there at times saying that there may be some long term effects, whether it be heart effects or respiratory effects on an individual. While it might not seem like you are impacted directly today, what’s to say that that permanent damage might be on an individual from the virus later in their life.
Also a reciprocal effect of that is most of those young people have older people in their lives, so they could become the spreaders and spread the virus throughout our community.”
Bainter says if someone finds out they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, they need to quarantine at home for at least 3 to 4 days after contact before being tested. He says health officials need that incubation period before the virus can accurately be detected in a test.
There is no cost or appointment needed for a test at the Morgan County COVID Contact Center. Testing is available by drive through or walk in on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each week from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm.
The center is located at 340 West College Avenue. Enter the testing site at the corner of South Church Street and West Morgan Street and follow the posted signs. Anyone can receive a test at the site. You are asked to bring an ID and heath insurance information with you, however it is not required to receive a test.