Department of Health Services provides criteria for COVID-19 priority testing
Courtesy of the Lincoln County Health Department
LINCOLN COUNTY – On Tuesday, March 17, the Department of Health Services (DHS) announced prioritizing testing to the highest priority patients and health care workers.
With the increased number of COVID-19 cases reported nationally and more people getting sick in Wisconsin communities, priority testing is needed at this time. Testing will be prioritized based on criteria provided by DHS. There is no role for testing patients that have no symptoms.
“In an effort to not overwhelm the health care community, make better use of limited supplies, and because anyone travelling outside of the country is already being asked to self-isolate for 14 days, we’re prioritizing those who should be tested,” said Shelley Hersil, Lincoln County Health Officer. “Prioritizing testing also assures that Lincoln County Health Department can manage their work for the most critical patients as efficiently and effectively as possible.”
The following is the new criteria for testing for patients who think they have COVID-19.
- If you do not have symptoms, testing is unnecessary.
- If you have mild symptoms (runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, body aches, fever) or mild illness for which you would not normally seek care, testing is not recommended. However, if you think you have been around someone who has been sick with COVID-19 and have mild symptoms it is recommend you stay home and self-isolate yourself (stay away from others) for 14 days. You also must be fever-free with no other acute symptoms for 72 hours. Self-isolation guidance can be found at lincolncountyhealthdepartment.com.
- If you have mild symptoms and are an older adult, have chronic disease and or immune issues and you think you were around some who has been sick with COVID-19 you should contact your physician and discuss symptoms and testing. You also should self-isolate for 14 days, be fever-free with no other acute symptoms for 72 hours.
- If anyone has severe symptoms (difficulty breathing, chest pain, and/or difficulty arousing), they should call their provider immediately or if necessary, call 911.
“If you are healthy and have mild symptoms, you should manage your illness at home,” Hersil stated. “By staying home, you avoid putting other people at risk. For the same reason, stay home from work if you have a flu-like illness. Most people do not need a test for COVID-19.”
It is very important if individuals develop severe symptoms, they call their health care provider before seeking care. Your doctor will determine if you should be tested for COVID-19.
The following are preferred methods for contacting our local hospitals and clinics regarding COVID-19.
Call 833-978-0649 prior to visiting one of the Ascension facilities if you have a fever, cough or other respiratory symptoms, so you can be screened by a nursing professional. Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital and Ascension Good Samaritan Hospital Emergency Rooms are currently testing for COVID-19 and sending to state lab once a day. Ascension Online Care is available 24/7, providing access to care from the comfort of your own home and online video urgent care from your computer or mobile device. Download the app at www.ascension.org/onlinecare. Use code HOME for a discounted $20 visit. No insurance required.
Call the Aspirus COVID-19 Call Center at 1-844-568-0701 if you are concerned you might be infected with COVID-19. This line is staffed by live operators Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Marshfield Clinic Health System
Call the Marshfield Clinic COVID-19 Helpline 877-998-0880 for information and questions about COVID-19. Available 24/7.
Follow simple steps to avoid getting sick
The Lincoln County Health Department wants everyone to know that we are still seeing peaks of seasonal flu in the state. While the risk of getting COVID-19 remains low, people should follow simple steps to avoid getting sick, including frequent and thorough handwashing with soap and water; covering coughs and sneezes; avoiding touching your face; staying home when sick; practicing social distancing; and avoiding gatherings of people. Avoid social gatherings with people of all ages (including playdates and sleepovers, parties, large family dinners, visitors in your home, and nonessential workers in your house).
Where to find the latest COVID-19 information
This is a rapidly evolving situation. For the latest information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website (www.cdc.gov), the Department of Homeland Security website (www.dhs.gov), the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website (www.dhs.wisconsin.gov) the Lincoln County Health Department’s website (www.lincolnhealthdepartment.com) or follow us on Facebook. Lincoln County Health Department is always working for a safer and healthier Lincoln County.