St. Francois County’s two positive COVID-19 cases are both females that work in the healthcare profession outside of the county, but they do not work together, County Health Center Director Amber Elliott said on Tuesday.
“Our second case is strikingly similar to the first,” Elliott said.
The health center sent out a notice about the second confirmed positive case late Monday night. This case is a woman in her 20s that Elliott said they believe was exposed in her workplace, but they aren’t 100% sure. So for now, her exposure is listed as unknown.
The first woman who tested positive has now been admitted to the hospital, according to Elliott.
As far as she knows from the conversations she has had with them, neither of these women have underlying health conditions.
Elliott gave an update on Facebook Live on Tuesday afternoon and answered questions from concerned residents. There were more than 600 viewing the live feed and there will be another update on Thursday at 2 p.m.
There are still no positive local cases from the Bonne Terre wedding, Elliott said. Both tests that they’ve gotten back have been negative. But she said that six more tests from people at the wedding were sent out to private labs on Monday.
Elliott did try to explain how the testing is reported because it’s not always clear how many tests have been done or how many are pending.
“Yesterday I talked about how we had pending tests at the state public health lab,” Elliott said. “And we’ve had several come back through today that have been negative. However, they were people that we were never notified of who were at the state public health lab. So you can see what kind of issue that brings when we really don’t know how many are pending at the state public health lab. So I don’t want to give numbers that aren’t really real.”
Elliott said they don’t always get negative test results, but the state has put in a waiver this week to get all the negatives reported to the state. So she said they are likely to start seeing more of those results come through from the state level.
As for tests done through private labs, Elliot said, they have asked doctors to try to notify the health center when they do a test. That way they can reach out to the person and tell them to stay home until their results come in. They have also asked the doctors to tell the patient this, too.
She said the state has stricter guidelines on who gets tested, which were updated on Tuesday. The state is trying to test high-priority cases since the resources are limited, Elliott said.
But she said most of the local doctor’s offices are sending out to private labs now and those tests are done based upon the doctor’s judgement.
Other items Elliott addressed:
• She said that a stay-at-home order is being considered for St. Francois County. She said she has been talking to the county commissioners and city leaders and they are keeping watch on the cases, but it’s not as easy as saying yes or no.
“I think it’s a strong possibility, Elliot said. “It’s something we want to take very, very seriously. Because it does have some serious implications.”
• She does expect there to be a drive-through testing facility in Farmington soon.
“They were hoping to have that open tomorrow, however it’s not quite ready yet,” Elliott said. “So I think it will be soon. I don’t want to speak on behalf of any agencies, but they’re really working to get that going. Obviously, there will be some triage that’s a part of that because it’s not recommended to test people who are asymptomatic.”
• The health center has updated their website, www.sfchc.org. There is a new tab on the home page that links to COVID-19 updates. Once you click on that, you will see a county case counter with the cases broken down by ages and exposure type.
Nikki Overfelt is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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