The Cabell-Huntington Health Department wants to update the community regarding a spike in positive cases of COVID-19 disease. Operational data from the 7-day period from 6/25/2020 through 7/1/2020 shows 30 new case reports. Several identifiable factors are associated with risk of infection among Cabell County residents in relation to this recent increase in the spread of this infection. Travel to and from multiple states is a risk factor for infection. Household members as well as extended family members of infected individuals are at particular risk. In addition, gatherings are a risk factor for infection and infections have been reported associated with larger social gatherings, but also from smaller visits among non- household family members. Besides COVID-19 illness, including illness requiring hospitalization, more than 100 people have been quarantined due to contact risk, which impacts not only those people and their families, but the businesses and agencies where they work. Finally, misinformation regarding isolation and quarantine is common. Misunderstanding or disregarding isolation or quarantine can cause illness among family members and others.
Three areas of public action can have a remarkable impact on future cases:
First, avoid nonessential travel. Most areas of the United States have increasing cases of COVID- 19 and Cabell County cases have come from multiple states during June. Businesses and agencies are encouraged to consider travel-related policies in lieu of governmental restriction. Policies can include bans on nonessential work travel and/or 14-day work from home policies after travel. Travelers should consider self-quarantine for 14 days after travel and consider the consequences of any work-related return policies or government-imposed quarantine orders which might be imposed during travel.
Second, distancing and face covering is effective in not only reducing the spread of the disease, but in decreasing the likelihood one will be quarantined in a contact situation. A large proportion of illness and quarantine has resulted from not following guidelines in these two areas. Social distancing, also called “physical distancing,” means keeping space between yourself and other people outside of your home. To practice social or physical distancing stay at least 6 feet (about 2 arms’ length) from other people. All people for whom it is safe to wear a face covering over the nose and mouth should do so in the presence of any other person not in your household, especially indoors, but also outdoors to reduce the chance of illness or quarantine.
Thirdly, isolation and quarantine restrict all interactions between people who are ill or are at high risk to become ill and all other people. CDC publishes specific guidance to reduce the chance of household spread of COVID-19 when a person is isolated or quarantined at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine-isolation.html. Isolated or quarantined persons should not leave their house if at all possible. This can require assistance in obtaining food and medication. Additional measures to assure safety and mental wellbeing should be considered. Any person subject to health department issued isolation or quarantine orders should contact the health department if they are unable to make safe living arrangements to comply with the orders.
In all matters during this pandemic, The Cabell-Huntington Health Department strongly encourages everyone to practice the measures in place for their protection. These measures include frequent hand washing, face coverings to include a mask, avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth, avoid close contact and cover coughs and sneezes. Measures must also take special care to protect individuals at increased risk of severe disease – people who are older or have other medical conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, chronic lung disease, and others.
As part of Cabell County’s continued preparation and response for COVID-19, the health department is operating a call center to address general questions and concerns, hours are Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 6:00 pm (304) 526-6544. Calls from 4:00 – 6:00 pm are routed to our after hours answering service for distribution and return calls.