WARSAW – Kosciusko County Health Officer Dr. William Remington predicted more positive cases will be reported in short order locally after officials announced the first case in the county earlier in the day.
Remington met with the media hours after the announcement Thursday afternoon.
Officials declined to give any details about the person who tested positive for COVID-19 other than to say the person is an adult who is self-isolating.
Remington said they were still seeking to learn more about the patient and especially who that person has been in contact with.
“That’s our job moving forward is understanding this case. Whether this represents community transmission or not will be of some discussion and thinking for us,” Remington said.
“I think over the next couple of days, we’ll have more cases and we’ll try to answer that question. Is there community transmission?”
Meanwhile, neighboring Whitley and Fulton counties also reported their first cases Thursday. Marshall County, west of Kosciusko County, announced its first case one day ago.
More than two-thirds of the state’s counties now have reported cases, and Remington predicted the virus would spread to every county.
“I don’t think anyone will escape this, at least on a county-by-county perspective in the Midwest,” he said.
At the same time, Remington cautioned that, “This kind of a bellwether event doesn’t mean disaster in our ERs tomorrow.”
He applauded actions on state and local levels to slow the spread of the virus.
Remington said he’s been very comfortable with where the county is in its preparedness.
“I am very appreciative of some tough decisions in regards to pulling those heavy levers of social distancing that have already been made,” he said.
Anyone who has symptoms – cough and fever – and believes they need a COVID-19 test is encouraged to check with their doctor first or turn to MedState or the ERs at KCH or Parkview Warsaw. Those facilities will determine whether a test is warranted.
Remington’s advice for those feeling ill and who have seen a doctor. “Stay at home, presume it’s COVID. Self-isolate.”
According to information provided by the county health department, there have been 82 tests administered in the county.
Remington said he believes testing will become more available and we will see a faster turnover in getting results.
“It’s ramping up … there’s still a little bit of a lag in getting those results,” Remington said.
He said he believes the two hospitals are prepared and have the resources they need.
“I have not heard of a shortage of personal protective equipment on the hospital-side at this point in this community, at least for the demand as we know it now,” he said.
Bob Weaver, the health department administrator, said he’s been working to make sure nursing homes get more personal protective equipment, including masks, gowns and gloves.
Deliveries of such items have been trickling in. Weaver said he’s never sure what or how much the county will receive in the deliveries.
Remington said the state realizes that supplying the equipment to nursing homes is a priority right now.
He pledged to seek more engagement and called for more emergency planning in coming weeks locally.
“I think there will be a lot more questions in people’s minds,” he said.