BISBEE — Cochise Health and Social Services (CHSS) has established a website to keep up with the latest news on the COVID-19 spread in the county, state, country and the world.
The site is at: https://covid-cochisehealth.hub.arcgis.com/. It has all the pertinent information on the virus and its spread. Currently, all 50 states have had confirmed cases of Covid-19 which total nearly 6,500 people.
CHSS director Carrie Langley provided the weekly update to county Board of Supervisors Tom Borer and Peggy Judd and department heads in a work session Tuesday.
There are still no confirmed cases of the virus in the county and testing remains at 10 people whose results were all negative.
She does expect the number of cases in the state to rise as more tests are completed.
There are some nuances to the virus showing up from data collected concerning symptoms, she explained. Fevers may just be low grade and some people have not developed a cough.
“One of the main things to keep in mind is there is no treatment for COVID-19. You should just treat this like the cold and flu season and stay home if you’re sick and stay hydrated,” she said.
COVID-19 is spread by droplets from sneezes and coughs and research shows it can survive on surfaces for a few days. Keeping all surfaces clean and disinfected, as well as thoroughly washing hands with soap and water is very effective. In fact, washing hands is more effective than hand sanitizers, she noted.
“People who are not around water during the day need hand sanitizer,” she said. “Save the sanitizer for the people who need it. If you have water, just wash your hands. It’s better.”
Physicians and hospitals in the county, as well as the health department, are “being inundated with calls from people wanting to be tested,” she continued. “The health department does not do testing. Some people are showing up in the emergency rooms just to get tested.”
This a problem for doctors trying to treat patients in emergency situations. And, the people who want the tests may not have been to an area where the virus is prevalent or have not been directly exposed to it, two of the main criteria for testing as suggested by the CDC.
“Save the ER for emergencies,” she suggested.
Some calls CCHS has received are from people who say they cannot go back to work until they have been tested, she added. “We can’t help them. It’s a hard conversation to have.”
County Administrator Ed Gilligan added, “The requirements for testing were established by the CDC. The 10 cases tested met those criteria which included foreign travel in places with the highest rate of infection. That creates a high level of frustration for people. The tests are important for tracking the spread and rate of infection, but there is no correlation with testing and the outcome of treatment.”
If a person is sick, they should stay home, wash hands and do not touch the face, he added.
Due to the number of calls CCHS is getting, Gilligan has helped with additional staffing from other departments.
Amanda Baillie, county public information officer, said, “We’re trying to keep people calm by having all the information out there for people. And we’re putting the county information at the top of the website.”
Borer applauded the efforts and said, “Just keep the message consistent.”