Health Dept COVID-19 update Monday 4-20

Good morning,
 
Here is a quick COVID-19 update. First the good news, we have now gone 7 days without a new COVID-19 case in Clinton County.
 
Now the bad news: It is too early to stop our social distancing measures. I will do my best to explain the reasoning for this. 
 
The first thing to consider when we talk about the effects of social distancing on case confirmations is that our actions today will impact case detection in roughly two weeks. That is to say, if someone has contact with COVID-19 today, and develops illness because of that contact, we will detect it in about two weeks. The first week is consumed by the incubation period of the illness, where the patient is infected, but has no symptoms. Then next couple of days are early in the illness, where the patient's symptoms are mild, but worsening. finally, perhaps 10 days after exposure, the patient is tested, with results returning 24 hours later.
 
The biggest reason we cannot simply stop distancing now is that there continue to be a large number of new and emerging cases in the metro regions to our South and West. A large component of our population commutes to these areas for work, and therefore are at continued risk of exposure to this illness while they are in these areas. We then, are at the mercy of the number or cases decreasing in these metro area's before we can safely change our sheltering profile. We will have additional cases within our County. There continue to be person's diagnosed within Clinton County who are sick with this illness, and try as we might, the fact remains that there are persons who will be exposed to this illness, whether locally, or in the metro, who will contract the illness. The number of daily new cases in the metro is declining, which is promising. We will continue to assess risk, and make changes to our social distancing order based upon the risk to the public within the County. 
 
It is our promise to each of you that changes to our order and guidance will be based upon evidence-backed science, and won't be influenced by politics or any agenda. Our only agenda, if you can call it that, is to see our county through this dark time with as little loss of human life as possible. 
 
In the coming weeks, we will be releasing guidance on how we will begin the un-sheltering process.  Expect it to be gradual, with different actions for differing groups of people based upon risk. Expect large group gatherings to continue to be discouraged for an extended period of time, even as the public as a whole return to work. 
 
Expect continued disruptions to our regular routines for an extended time in the future. The task that lies before us is a daunting one. There will continue to be outbreaks of this illness, even as we un-shelter. As testing capabilities improve, healthcare providers and public health will work to quickly identify new cases, and isolate them before they become a widespread outbreak. 
 
Blair Shock
Administrator
Clinton County Health Department

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