Public Health officials say COVID-19 testing demand may cause delays

CCPH officials suggest that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms and cannot access testing or is waiting for a test appointment should stay home and away from others unless they need to seek medical care.

CCPH officials suggest that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms and cannot access testing or is waiting for a test appointment should stay home and away from others unless they need to seek medical care

VANCOUVER – COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in Clark County with more than 6,000 new cases reported in the last week according to a report from Clark County Public Health (CCPH). COVID-19 testing is in high demand and wait times for appointments and results may be several days. People should not go to emergency departments for testing if they do not need emergency medical care.

CCPH officials suggest that anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms and cannot access testing or is waiting for a test appointment should stay home and away from others unless they need to seek medical care. People who test positive using an at-home COVID-19 test do not need to confirm the result by getting another test from a health care provider or testing site. 

People who test positive and those with COVID-19 symptoms who do not get tested should isolate at home for at least five days (day 1 is the first full day after symptoms develop). Isolation can end after five full days if they’ve been fever-free for 24 hours (without using fever-reducing medicine) and other symptoms are improving. 

People ending isolation after five days should continue to wear a well-fitted mask around others for another full five days (days 6-10). They should also avoid traveling and being around people who are at high risk for severe illness during that time.

“Local hospitals are getting busier as COVID-19 case numbers climb,” said Dr. Alan Melnick, Clark County health officer and Public Health director. “We should all be taking precautions to keep ourselves and our loved ones healthy and help reduce the strain on our health care system.”

CCPH officials believe masks continue to be an important tool for slowing the spread of COVID-19, and people should continue to wear masks anytime they are around people they do not live with. Respirator masks, like N95s and KN95s, provide the most protection, but cloth and surgical masks are still useful for preventing virus transmission. 

People who do not have respirator masks can take steps to increase the protection they get from cloth and surgical masks:

  • Wear masks properly. Make sure they cover the nose and mouth and fit snugly against the face. 
  • Wear cloth masks with multiple layers. Single-layer masks, like bandanas and gaiters, are less effective. Cloth masks with multiple layers provide more protection.
  • Double mask. Add layers by wearing a cloth mask over a surgical mask.

Other ways people can reduce their risk of getting or spreading COVID-19 include avoiding large gatherings and events, maintaining at least 6 feet of distance from others, and washing hands frequently.

More information about COVID-19 is available on the Public Health website.

Information provided by Clark Co. WA Communications.

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