MCHD – Simple Tools To Combat COVID-19 Spread Are Important Now More Than Ever

By Benjamin Cox on July 14, 2020 at 5:32am

Morgan County COVID-19 cases continue to slowly rise. The 136th case was announced yesterday evening. 130 patients have been released from restriction. Morgan County has had only 1 long-term care facility outbreak that was tied to 58 positive cases and 4 deaths within the last month.

Morgan County Health Department Director Dale Bainter says the biggest concern should be about traveling, as nearby states’ case numbers continue to rise exponentially: “The numbers we are seeing coming out of the southern states, the western states, the Sunbelt – those have been very alarming to me this week. It’s concerning to see such a resurgence. We’ve seen these states start to reopen, and at times, see a 1000% increase in cases over a week’s time. Any time you see that instant rate jump at that level, it’s very alarming.”

Bainter says the health department has set a long-term goal of restarting testing at the health department and making it sustainable as a way to combat spread of the virus: “It’s one of those things that we know we are going to need in our community. We’ve had some difficulties with funding that was supposed to be coming through from the federal government through the state government. There have been snags in that. The testing we were running at the Health Department was done with local resources. We were doing it at the Health Department in conjunction with our local Emergency Management Agency and with Passavant Area Hospital. There has to be a long-term, sustainable goal, and that’s what we are looking at now is hiring people to do it; setting it up; and having it be here as a long-term resource for the community.”

Bainter says the testing will be crucial for congregate living settings like high-rise apartments and long-term care facilities to contain and manage a possible future outbreak. Bainter says the simple tools of social distancing, wearing a mask, and good hygiene will continue to be the best things to do to combat the spread of the virus.

Bainter says that the rise of cases back above 1000 per day in the state over the past week was likely a direct result of 4th of July gatherings. He says now is the time to reinforce the usage of those tools so positive case counts in the local area won’t continue to occur.