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Essex County Health Department Identifies Two Positive COVID-19 Case
Elizabethtown, NY – The Essex County Health Department has identified two new positive cases of novel coronavirus, or COVID-19, in Essex County. The patients were tested at the University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s new drive-through testing site, and are being monitored at home by the Essex County Health Department (ECHD).
“The greatest advantage of drive-through testing is safety,” said the UVM Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital Medical Director of Emergency Medicine and Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Clauss. “A staff member in full protective equipment performs the nasal swab test while the patient remains in their vehicle. This minimizes patient and staff exposure to infection.”
“I want to be clear that drive-through testing at Elizabethtown Community Hospital is by appointment only and requires a provider’s order,” said Dr. Clauss. “Due to limitations on testing supplies and capacity, we must continue to adhere to strict guidelines regarding who gets tested. The key here is that patients who are being tested have already been evaluated by a health professional and meet the current criteria for testing. Responsible use of our resources is essential.”
“It’s important to point out that there is no treatment for COVID-19 and many cases will have only mild symptoms. For others, staying home and getting lots of fluids and rest is what we recommend.”
According to Essex County Health Department Director Linda Beers, test results typically come back within two to five days. Patients who are tested are advised to self-isolate at home, pending results. If a patient tests positive, they are immediately placed under a mandatory isolation order. “This is all done in very close coordination with the patients, their providers, and the test site. Once we get a positive test result, we start the contact tracing process and monitor the patient’s health daily while they are isolated at home. The health department-hospital partnership is critical to preventing the spread of COVID-19,” said Ms. Beers.
“We have the ability to slow the spread of this virus,” said Ms. Beers. “The most effective way to do so is to prevent new cases. The most effective way to prevent new cases is to take strict social distancing measures.”
The symptoms of COVID-19 are a cough, fever and/or shortness of breath – similar to the flu. If you have mild symptoms, you should stay home and rest. Those with more severe symptoms, such as trouble breathing or inability to eat or drink, should call their primary care provider immediately. It is not recommended that people seek treatment at an emergency department unless they are short-of-breath, or otherwise need urgent medical help.
COVID-19 is spread through droplets in the air, so it can be spread through coughing and sneezing. It is likely it can contaminate surfaces as well. The incubation period is thought to be 14 days. There are simple actions we can take to help prevent the spread of the flu and coronavirus, including:
• If you are sick, stay home.
• Clean your hands frequently – wash your hands and use portable alcohol hand sanitizer before you eat.
• Cough and sneeze into your arm, not your hands.
• Don’t touch your face.
• Avoid crowded spaces.
Additional updates related to COVID-19 will be posted to our website at: https://www.ech.org/COVID-19-Information-and-Updates
About Elizabethtown Community Hospital
The University of Vermont Health Network - Elizabethtown Community Hospital is a designated critical access hospital and the primary health care provider serving the 39,000 people who live, work and vacation in Essex County, NY and the surrounding region.
Elizabethtown Community Hospital is transforming rural health care at its main campus in Elizabethtown, NY, at a new emergency department and outpatient center at the former Moses Ludington Hospital in Ticonderoga, NY, and at six community-based primary health care centers located throughout the region. The hospital is one of the community’s largest employers with 383 employees.
Across the Elizabethtown and Ticonderoga campuses, the hospital maintains two 24-hour emergency rooms, a 25-bed inpatient unit, physical therapy, laboratory, and digital radiology departments, and a variety of specialty physician clinics on a weekly and monthly basis.
Elizabethtown Community Hospital is accredited by the Joint Commission and is licensed and certified by the New York State Department of Health and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
About The University of Vermont Health Network
The University of Vermont Health Network is an academic health system that is comprised of six affiliate hospitals, a multi-specialty medical group, and a home health agency. We serve the residents of Vermont and northern New York with a shared mission: working together, we improve people’s lives. Our partners include:
▪ The University of Vermont Health Network Medical Group
▪ The University of Vermont Health Network – Elizabethtown Community Hospital
▪ The University of Vermont Health Network – Porter Medical Center
▪ The University of Vermont Health Network – Home Health and Hospice
Our 4,000 health care professionals are driven to provide high quality, cost-efficient care as close to home as possible. Strengthened by our academic connection to the University of Vermont, each of our hospitals remains committed to its local community by providing compassionate, personal care shaped by the latest medical advances and delivered by highly skilled experts.