Knox County Health Department Issues County Wide Health Alert

Health department officials are alerting the public to high risk for Covid-19 transmission.  Our positivity rates have exceeded 30% in the county with the addition of school-based antigen testing, indicating increased community transmission.  We have received multiple cases over the weekend, many came from hospitals in the surrounding area, individuals sick enough to report to ERs and urgent cares for testing.  Hospitals around us report increasing need, along with high numbers of staff absence due to illness and symptomatic quarantine.  School resumes tomorrow for in session learning, and protocols are in place to limit exposure and risk, including Mandatory Masking.  This, along with the state recommendation, is the difference in ability to limit quarantining in the school setting versus in the public where masking still appears to be at a low level.  We currently have no orders in place for masking, distancing, etc.  In the absence of orders, we make this request to those who do wish to help stop/slow the spread:

  • Staying home as much as possible (this may mean inside or outside).
  • Conducting as much of your business as possible by phone, drive through or online.
  • When eating out consider drive through, take out or curbside delivery.
  • Maintain physical distance of a minimum of 6ft between you and all those outside your household, utilize phone and online methods when checking on high risk individuals.
  • Wear face masks when in public places.
  • Avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands multiple times a day.
  • Carry hand sanitizer when access to handwashing is limited.
  • Avoid gatherings of multiple households (ex. And at the holiday limit households and know who you are with).
  • Postpone gatherings of multiple households (ex. Birthday parties/celebrations/meetings).
  • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Pursue a healthy diet.
  • Participate in physical activity.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • If symptomatic, consider testing for Covid-19.

Symptoms of Covid-19 may include any of the following:

  • Cough, Shortness of Breath, Difficulty Breathing
  • Fever or chills
  • Headache or Muscle Aches.
  • Nausea, Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • New Loss of Taste or Smell

Testing for Covid-19 does not change self-quarantine suggestions, but may indicate need for isolation and further contact tracing if positive result is found.  Currently if you are a first line contact of a positive case public health requests you self-quarantine for 14 days and avoid contact with anyone outside your household (essential workers should talk with their employers to see if there are protocols in place that allow for going to work, and those protocols should always involve mask wearing and distancing).  Should symptoms arise, notify public health and consider testing.

Anyone that is a positive case, or close contact of a positive case, should always notify ems, 911 and all other health care providers of Covid-19 status prior to service.  Finally, confirmed and probable Covid-19 cases should never try to “tough it out”.  Make sure your health care providers are aware of your status, and at anytime you feel uncomfortable with your status seek treatment.  Although many will recover from Covid-19 without complication, we are beginning to see what those around the country and state have been seeing for months—this virus can be very hard on individuals, particularly with pre existing conditions and advanced age.

Finally, please be advised that the number of growing positive cases have exceeded our ability to complete follow-up with each case within the 12 -24-hour period we have been used to.  Those who do not hear from us, should isolate (positive) and or quarantine (close contact) and reach out to our agency if you have not heard from us.  There is a lag in reporting from state to state and with out of county tests due to the spike in testing levels and high level of positive results.

For more information regarding Covid-19 please reach out to the local health department at 660.397.3396.