LUCAS COUNTY, Ohio — The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department has issued an important message to citizens: if you test positive for COVID-19, don't wait to be contacted by the health department. Isolate and reach out to close contacts immediately.
They're urging individual accountability due to a backlog in Ohio's COVID-19 data system. The high volume of cases and prediction that this trend will continue upward means that the health department may not be able to contact confirmed positive or close contact cases as quickly as before.
Those who are a confirmed positive or a close contact to a positive case should not wait and should immediately follow isolation and quarantine guidance. Positive cases should reach out to close contacts as well.
Anyone who is determined a close contact to someone positive for COVID-19 needs to quarantine for 14 days from when they last were exposed to that individual.
If you came in contact with a COVID-19 positive person and have tested positive earlier this year, but have not tested positive in the past three months, you should still follow quarantine protocol.
A close contact, defined by the health department, is someone:
- Who was within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19, for a total of 15 minutes or more.
- Who provided care at the home of someone sick with COVID-19.
- Who had direct physical contact with the person (such as touching, hugging or kissing)
- Who shared eating or drinking utensils
- Who was sneezed or coughed upon or received respiratory droplets on their person by an infected individual in any way.
Close contacts should:
- Stay home for 14 days since the last contact
- Monitor health, including watching for a fever of 100.4 degrees or higher, a cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms
- Stay away from others, especially high risk individuals
The health department cautions that, even if a test is negative for COVID-19 or if you feel healthy, you should quarantine. Symptoms may appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure.
Those who need to isolate are the following:
- People who have tested positive or have symptoms of COVID-19 and can recover at home
- People who have no symptoms but have tested positive for COVID-19
Those in isolation should practice the following steps:
- Stay home except for medical care
- Monitor symptoms, including emergency signs like trouble breathing, and seek emergency medical care immediately if those signs are present
- Stay in separate room from other household members, if possible
- Use separate bathroom, if possible
- Avoid contact with other household members and pets
- Do not share personal items, like cups, towels or utensils
- Wear a cloth facial covering when around others and keep as much distance as possible
Individuals can leave isolation after 10 days since symptoms first appeared and when without a fever for 24 hours without medication and when other symptoms of COVID-19 have significantly improved. Loss of taste and smell may last for weeks or even months, but are not a reason to delay the end of isolation.
The latest updates on COVID-19 in Lucas County can be found at the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department's website.