(Greencastle, Ind.) Putnam County officials announced today that there have been 2,102 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the county since March. Putnam County is currently at a 9.9% positivity rate. For a further breakdown of cases please visit www.coronavirus.in.gov. The positive case number also may include positive cases at the state correctional facility located in Putnam County. To learn more, visit https://www.in.gov/idoc/3780.htm.
Putnam County remains in level orange according to the ISDH website. What does being an orange county mean? The county has a point score of 2.0 to 2.5 when percent positivity and new cases per 100,000 residents are combined. Community spread is approaching high levels. These requirements are in effect when a county reaches the orange metric and remain until a county moves to yellow or blue for two straight weeks.
Putnam County Hospital continues to offer curbside COVID testing. To schedule your appointment please go to https://scheduling.coronavirus.in.gov If the website is showing that there are no open appointments for the day please call our COVID curbside phone number. Testing hours are Tuesday-Friday 10:00am-6:00pm and Saturday 9:00am-2:00pm. If you have any further questions or if the online scheduling is showing full please call (765) 301-7019. Putnam County Hospital asks that patients arrive no earlier than five minutes before their scheduled test to help with the flow of traffic. When a patient arrives they will follow the COVID-19 testing signs. These signs will direct them to the proper testing area.
Beginning on January 4, 2021, the curbside COVID testing will be open 6 days a week. Monday-Friday from 10am-6pm and Saturday from 9am-2pm.
The COVID vaccine has arrived in Indiana. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) allowing the first shipments of COVID-19 vaccine to be shipped to Indiana and other states.
Only people who received a link directly from their employers can register for vaccination at this time. That includes hospital-based employees and long-term care staff. A medical ID will be required.
Who will be eligible to receive vaccine first?
Initial doses will be limited, so the first priority for vaccine will go to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities.
If you answer yes to any of these questions, you are among the first group of healthcare workers who will be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Please make sure that your email address is current with the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency so that you will receive updates when registration is open.
- Do you work or volunteer in healthcare and have (physical or close) contact or face to face interactions with patients? Examples include:
- Inpatient, outpatient, provider office setting, nursing homes, residential care facilities, assisted living facilities, in-home services
- This includes all clinical and non-clinical positions: clinicians, dietary, environmental services, administrators who have direct contact with patients, clergy who see patients in the healthcare setting, non-clinicians who assist in procedures, transportation staff, etc.
- This also includes local health department staff who interact with patients at test sites, health clinics or provide direct patient care
- Do you have exposure to COVID-19 infectious material? (Examples include cleaning of rooms or material from COVID-19 patients, performing COVID-19 testing, other exposure to infected tissue, performing autopsies or other post-mortem examinations of COVID-19 patients)
- Do you reside in a long-term care facility (nursing home, residential care, assisted living)?
Only people who received a link directly from their employers can register for vaccination at this time. As of Dec. 15, only hospital-based employees, long-term care staff, and emergency medical service providers are eligible to receive the vaccine. A facility ID will be required. We will notify additional healthcare personnel of their eligibility as more vaccine becomes available.
The timeline for additional phases of vaccine administration is yet to be determined. Check https://www.coronavirus.in.gov/vaccine/ for updates.
What should you do if you are awaiting test results?
If you have been tested and are awaiting results please remember to follow the necessary precautions to help slow the spread. Here are some helpful tips and reminders from the CDC.
Stay home and away from others:
- Stay away from others while waiting for your COVID-19 test result, especially people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with other medical conditions, if possible.
- If you have been around someone with COVID-19, stay home and away from others for 14 days (self-quarantine) after your last contact with that person and monitor your health.
- If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19, stay home and away from others (except to get medical care).
- If you need support or assistance while in self-quarantine, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.
Monitor your health:
- Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath, or other symptoms of COVID-19. Remember, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to COVID-19.
Think about the people you have recently been around.
- While you wait for your COVID-19 test result, think about everyone you have been around recently. This will be important information to have available. If your test is positive, someone from the health department may call you to check on your health, discuss who you have been around, and ask where you spent time while you may have been able to spread COVID-19 to others.
What else can I do right now to help prevent the spread of influenza and the flu?
- Avoid close contact. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick, too.
- Stay home when you are sick. If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent you from spreading your illness to others.
- Cover your mouth and nose. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. Flu and other serious respiratory illnesses are spread by cough, sneezing or unclean hands.
- Clean your hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.
- Handwashing: Clean Hands Save Lives Tips on hand washing and using alcohol-based hand sanitizers
- It’s a SNAP Toolkit: Handwashing Hand washing resources from the It’s a SNAP program, aimed at preventing school absenteeism by promoting clean hands; from the School Network for Absenteeism Prevention, a collaborative project of the CDC, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the American Cleaning Institute.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when people touch something that is contaminated with germs and then touch their eyes, nose or mouth.
- Wear a mask. Masks can reduce the transmission of all respiratory illnesses, including the flu.
- Practice other good health habits. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.
The Putnam County Health Department continues to plan and prepare for the release of the vaccine to the public at large. PCHD will provide prompt updates on their website (www.putnamhealthindiana.org) once more information becomes available.
Putnam County is providing regular updates on COVID-19 to citizens as part of its effort to complement the daily updates from the Indiana State Dept. of Health. The updates can be accessed via www.coronavirus.in.gov.
To learn more about Putnam County’s coordinated response to COVID-19, please visit the Putnam County Hospital at www.pchosp.org/covid-19-updates or the Putnam County Health Department at www.putnamhealthindiana.org.