Increased COVID Testing to Return to Morgan County in September

By Jeremy Coumbes on September 5, 2020 at 11:33am

Contact Tracing for COVID-19 is up to speed in Morgan County, Health Department Officials say the return of consistent testing is not far behind.

The new COVID Contact Center took over contact tracing in Morgan County last weekend, and is in operation seven days a week.

Morgan County Health Department Administrator Dale Bainter says as a whole Morgan County is doing better with the number of positive cases, however testing needs to be back to a higher level in the area with the hope that more tests per positive result will help continue to bring the county’s positivity rate down.

Bainter says with the COVID Contact Center now online, that increased testing will return soon to Morgan County.

we ramped up contact tracing last week. Friday marks just over one week since we opened the Contact Center and we have increased our capacity there. The day that we accomplished that we immediately shifted our concern to testing. A lot of people would ask why didn’t we do testing first? Really that contact tracing is the overwhelming beast at the moment, with trying to help stop the spread of the virus.

We needed to trace everyone who has been in contact with a positive. So now our goal is to have testing up and running at the center in about one week after Labor Day, and we should have that readily available in our community as needed.”

The center is located in the former Howe Electric and Butler Supply building at 340 West College Avenue in Jacksonville.

Bainter says even though human nature these days is to ignore phone calls from a number that you do not recognize, you need to pick up the phone in the age of COVID, as it might be a contact tracer trying to reach you with important information.

It might be a phone call that you are not expecting, but that needs to be taken seriously on two facets. The first being your own health, we want to make sure we pay attention to that. If we need to get tested we do get tested and that we are vary aware of our own condition and making sure that if we have these symptoms, we monitor those and take care of ourselves.”

Bainter says taking responsibility for others as well as your own health is crucial in continuing efforts to get life back to normal.

Number two, we need to think about the rest of our community. If yo have been contacted, letting you know that you’ve been in contact with a positive or that you should be put under quarantine, don’t disregard those orders. They are not suggestions, they are quarantine orders. We want to make sure we keep the rest of our community safe and stop the spread.

Everyone’s goal in this is the same. We want to get life back to normal. And if we are going to get back to normal, we need to contain the spread as much as possible, and observing those orders and helping that contact tracer are a very good tool for doing that.”

In a video update on the Jacksonville and Morgan County Office of Emergency Management’s Facebook Page this afternoon, Bainter says he wants to reinforce the social distancing and face covering message as we go into the Labor Day Holiday, and remind everyone that our actions this weekend can have significant impacts on the community over the next few weeks.