Although the crowds of people that came to Mobridge this week were a blessing to our community, during this time they may also have unknowingly brought the coronavirus with them.
With the potential of exposure during the Fourth of July holiday, many area residents are requesting COVID-19 tests to ease their minds.
That may not be necessary and can raise a false sense of security with a negative result, said Mobridge Regional Hospital and Clinics CEO John J. Ayoub.
The symptoms can take up to two weeks to appear and, in some people, they may have contracted the virus, but may never experience noticeable symptoms.
“COVID-19 is in our community, through people who live here and through visitors who have come into our community,” said Ayoub. “One of the things that we are seeing now is people calling and saying they need to be tested.”
He said that is not the manner in which the tests will be administered. He does not want people calling the hospital thinking they will get a test if they request one. Ayoub said people must either call and speak with the triage nurse or make an appointment with their health care provider to be evaluated.
He said it is highly likely that residents have been exposed to the virus, with so many people in the community. In order to keep the virus from spreading further, Ayoub said residents must continue to use precautions by wearing masks, practicing social physical distancing and abiding by the Center of Disease Control guidelines (see accompanying chart). If you are sick, it is important to prevent the spread to others and to monitor your symptoms and seek additional care if they worsen.
“We need to treat it like everyone has been exposed,” he said. “Practicing universal precautions is the most effective way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe.”
If residents feel they have been exposed to the virus, Ayoub said there are steps that need to be followed in order for tests to be administered.
He asks residents please not to call the hospital expecting to get tested only because they want to.
“If you are experiencing symptoms, don’t hesitate to call for an appointment or to talk to your provider or the triage nurse,” Ayoub said. “We will administer tests on the recommendation of the health care provider.”
If the test is ordered, the test appointment will be made and residents can drive up to the facility to have a provider administer the test. “We care for everyone, but need to be good stewards of our scarce resources, including our testing supplies, which is why we have a good and consistent process in place for everyone. Between June 1 and July 6, MRH&C completed 337 tests onsite at the hospital; 17 of the tests were positive.”
Ayoub said just because an employer tells employees they can come back to work if they test negative for the virus, unnecessary tests will not be provided. He said a person can get tested on Tuesday, get the negative results on Thursday, go back to work on Saturday and be symptomatic on the next Tuesday. That is how this virus works.
Small businessowners should not rely on the tests as a gauge of a safe work situation, Ayoub said.
“We don’t want people to be operating under a false sense of security,” he said. “We urge them to continue to take precautions as if everyone was exposed.”
Ayoub said he expects to see a spike in reported cases within the next two weeks.
“We don’t want a stigma attached to this situation,” he said. “If you are feeling sick don’t try to hide and get through it on your own. Talk to your provider and get the care you need.”
Ayoub urged residents to treat the issue seriously and to not let the mood of the country divide our community.
“We can take this threat and use it to work together and bring us together to get us through it,” he said.