UPDATED: Local health officials look for solutions as the coronavirus spreads

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Editor’s Note: Indiana updated COVID-19 numbers on Sunday, March 22, 2020, and removed the positive case that had been reported the previous day in Greene County. For the latest information on the spread of coronavirus in Indiana visit the state tracking map. This story has been edited to remove the references to the Greene County case that was reported on the state website error; however, WTWO/WAWV did reach out to Greene County health officials, who responded. Comments regarding testing and hygiene were left in this story.

FARMERSBURG, Ind.(WTWO/WAWV)– There are now two confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Vigo County.

Both Vigo Co. patients are being self-quarantined.

Health officials said as more coronavirus test kits become available, we can expect the number of positive cases to increase.

Roni Elder, Vigo Co. Health Educator, said when a patient tests positive, a community exposure process is conducted so that others can be made aware of possible exposure.

“They will let us know where they’ve been and who they’ve been around. Then we contact them from the health department and let them know that they might have been exposed and what steps they need to take from there,” she said.

Brenda Reetz, Greene Co. Hospital CEO, said it’s imperative that preventative measures are put in place to limit exposure to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“If you can keep yourself from getting sick, that is the absolute best thing that we can do right now. If everyone gets sick from this at once, we won’t have the availability of health care resources,” Reetz said.

According to health leaders, strict criteria must be met for testing to be conducted as directed by the Indiana State Department of Health.

At-risk health care workers and patients who are critically ill will receive first priority for testing.

Reetz said as more testing becomes available, hospitals will still face a shortage of hospital supplies needed to conduct these tests.

“In the next week, there’s this significant increase in capability with some of the national reference labs, such as Quest and Labcorp,” she said. “They’re increasing the amount of tests they can do per day. But that doesn’t necessarily increase the availability of the testing supplies.”

Elder believes once testing becomes widespread, there will be better outcomes on both national and local levels.

“As we test more and more people and there’s more positives more people are going to recover from it,” she said. “Hopefully all the people we’ve had in our county, so far the two cases, will see a recovery rate from that. Hopefully that will start to ease people’s minds, that this is something to worry about. But hopefully we’ll see good outcomes from it.”

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