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As of March 18, Nodaway County Health Center has two COVID-19 test kits and Mosaic Medical Center has five. Two people have been tested for coronavirus with two different kits and came back negative.

Nodaway County Health Administrator, Tom Patterson said the one test kit at the Nodaway County Health Center will be replaced by one of the two test kits that have been distributed to the county by the state if used to test someone for coronavirus.

Patterson said the state has distributed test kits to all of the counties. Maryville currently has seven between the Mosaic Medical Center and the Nodaway County Health Center.

Patterson said the county plans to keep a constant supply of test kits and that there will hopefully be an increase in the kits as the pandemic continues.

During the March 18 City Council meeting, Public Health Nurse Supervisor, Tabitha Frank said Mosaic Medical Center has five test kits. 

Patterson said the amount of kits available in the county will change and may have increase or decrease in the coming days.

The reason there are so few test kits in Nodaway County is because of two reasons, Patterson said. One reason is because Patterson said this amount is most likely standard for rural towns. The second reason is because the testing is so new.

Patterson also said not many tests have been done because most people who ask for testing have not met the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s criteria for requesting a test kit.

“With any testing or any disease, there is a criteria for testing,” Patterson said.

According to the CDC website, the criteria are if a patient is hospitalized for symptoms compatible with coronavirus, if patients have other chronic medical conditions or are older, or any person, including healthcare personnel, who have seen symptoms within 14 days of coming in contact with someone who has traveled from affected areas or came back positive for coronavirus.

If someone does meet the criteria for a test kit, the healthcare provider of their choice will request a test kit and will take a sample from that person. Patterson said daily pick-ups will gather the used kits and take them to the Missouri State Public Health Laboratory for testing the next day.

In a Maryville Forum article, President of Mosaic Medical Center - Maryville Nate Blackford said a lab can get results in five to six hours, but it may take a couple of days for a patient to see the results because of the time it takes to ship the results.

Patterson said each test kit holds two to three specimen containers for swabs of specimens to be sent to the lab. The kits also have cold packs to keep the specimen fresh. Patterson said the test kits are very similar to a lunch box.

The Wellness Center on campus is working with the University to reinforce preventative measures and inform the community of any updates on coronavirus.

Director of Wellness Services Gerald Wilmes said the University’s Crisis Management Team is meeting daily to find ways to protect students and community members from the coronavirus. Wilmes said Wellness Service’s role in the coronavirus preventative measures is to inform and educate students and community members of any updated information from the CDC, World Health Organization and other healthcare professionals.

“If somebody thinks they might have been exposed … it is recommended that they call  rather than just walking in,” Wilmes said when explaining what students and community members should do to minimize other peoples’ exposure.

According to the Johns Hopkins website, the coronavirus is a virus with many different strains that could cause diseases. The coronavirus is passed from person to person and has been detected in people from China and over 100 other countries, including the U.S.

The coronavirus appeared in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Health officials do not know the exact source of the virus, but it is believed to be linked to a seafood market in Wuhan.

According to the CDC website, the coronavirus symptoms are fever, cough and shortness of breath. For severe cases, the symptoms are difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion or inability to wake up and bluish lips or face.

Other symptoms of severe cases are kidney failure and severe respiratory problems. The website did not define severe respiratory problems according to the Johns Hopkins website. Also according to the CDC, symptoms may appear two to 14 days after exposure.

Wilmes said as things change and progress with the coronavirus, the Wellness Center is updating its information and changing its messages to keep students and campus employees informed.

Wilmes said people should be practicing what the CDC is recommending, such as social distancing and keeping up personal hygiene.

According to the CDC, the people who are at a higher risk are older people and people with chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and lung disease.

Diagnosis of the coronavirus is confirmed through lab tests. Physical exams make diagnosis difficult because mild cases of the coronavirus are very similar to the flu or a bad cold.

If the patient meets all of the criteria for possibly having the coronavirus, the doctor will then contact a state’s local public health agency to request a test kit. A decision by the state and the healthcare provider will be made on whether the patient needs to be tested.

“One of the things we are battling, quite frankly, is misinformation on all levels. That is always the case with public health crises,” Wilmes said.

Community Relations Manager at Mosaic Medical Center Rita Miller said the hospital has protocols in place in case a test comes back positive for the coronavirus. She said Mosaic Medical Center President Nate Blackford has been in daily meetings to keep procedures up to date with recommendations from the CDC.

On the Johns Hopkins website, there is a link to an updated map that labels active cases and their locations around the world. According to the Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for System Science and Engineering (CSSE) at John Hopkins website, as of March 16, 7,138 people have died from coronavirus and 78,939 have recovered from coronavirus. There are 181,562 confirmed cases around the globe. This website is constantly updated and statistics change frequently.

In comparison to influenza, according to a tweet from @CDCFlu, between Oct. 1, 2019, and March 7, (2019-2020 flu season) 22,000 people have died from the flu.



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