Believing it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” the Corona Virus will impact the health of the Branson area, we interviewed Lisa Marshall, Director of the Taney County Health Department. The interview was conducted during the early morning hours of Mar. 16 to obtain the very latest information. The time of the interview is essential because, as Marshall points out, the information on the Corona Virus is continuously changing.
The economic “impact” of the Corona Virus in Branson is already making itself felt. That impact is likely to grow until the Virus has run its course. This article addresses only the health aspects of the Virus.
The interview format was the Question and Answer format, with the questions by Gary J. Groman (GG) and answers by (LM).
GG: If I thought I had the Corona Virus, where could I go, as of this moment in time, to get tested?
LM: Healthcare providers will be the ones who tell patients where to go for testing. So a person would need to call their provider and let them know what symptoms they are experiencing. The provider would then advise if they needed to go for testing and where the test would take place.
GG: What does someone who does not have a health care provider do to see if they need testing?
LM: We encourage people go to the Cox Health Site https://www.coxhealth.com/coronavirus/ and use its “Virtual Visits.” It’s free using the code COVID.
Immediate action after screening
GG: What happens immediately after I take the test?
LM: The test results take a couple of days to get back. They would send you home to await the results unless you were ill enough to be hospitalized.
GG: How many confirmed cases of the Corona Virus are there in Taneycomo as of this time, 0800, Mar. 17, 2020?
LM: At this point in time, there are zero confirmed cases in Taney County.
Immediate Action(s) after getting positive for the Corona Virus
GG: What should those who test positive for the Corona Virus do?
LM: Absent being ill enough for immediate hospitalization, they should self-isolate and teat themselves at home, so you do not infect others. About 80% of individuals that do get the Corona Virus end up with minor symptoms that are treated at home using things like rest, hydration, and ibuprofen. We’re most concerned about the 20 percent, “High-Risk Population” that gets it. This includes those over 60 years of age, those with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, lung disease, or heart disease, or people with a compromised immune system such as cancer patients.
High Risk Group
GG: What does that 20% High-Risk group do when infected?
LM: Absent being ill enough for immediate hospitalization; they should self-isolate and teat themselves at home, so they do not infect others. If symptoms requiring hospitalization develop, they should immediately call their health care provider or 911. Be sure to point out that you have been diagnosed with the Corona Virus so that the health care workers can protect themselves and be prepared to factor that into the treatment plan.
Actions to help protect from getting or spreading the Corona Virus
GG: What actions can people take to protect from getting or spreading the Corona Virus?
LM: Following good hygiene practices and social distancing are the best ways to avoid getting infected and spreading the Virus. Good Hygiene Practices include washing your hands often with soap and water, not touching your face, eyes, nose, or mouth, covering your cough using your elbow or a tissue, and remembering to throw away the tissue immediately.
LM: Another and equally important element is Social Distancing, distancing yourself away from people who might be infected or who you might infect. This includes not shaking hands; hugging, high fives or fist bumps; staying at least six (6) feet away from others, especially if they are exhibiting symptoms; staying home if you are sick, and avoiding groups of 50 or more people.
For more information, contact the Taney County Health Department at 417-334-4544. Updates are posted on their website and Facebook page