Macon County Public Health has identified two additional positive cases of COVID-19. One individual acquired the virus unrelated to other identified positive cases. The other individual is believed to have acquired the virus via a positive case that had previously been identified by MCPH. This individual is an essential employee at a local business.
MCPH is working with the business and their staff to test all employees for the COVID-19 virus. Due to the nature of their work, these essential employees are unable to perform social distancing measures to the degree necessary to prevent exposure to COVID-19.
Comments on social media asked MCPH why the business is not named. MCPH posted on that releasing information regarding COVID-19 patients is against the law.
“Macon County Public Health (MCPH) is working diligently to test and contact trace COVID-19 cases, to keep Macon County residents safe,” said MCPH’s FB post. “When it is appropriate to release basic information about positive cases, it will be done, but any attempt to identify the individual beyond the information released by MCPH will be removed from this page. Please respect the privacy of COVID-19 patients and their family.”
MCPH later added on FB that place of employment cannot be released.
“Information, like employment, is considered identifiable information, and will therefore not be released by MCPH. Any attempt to try and identify cases on this page will be removed.”
At this time, MCPH does not believe that the general public who may have been at the store needs to be tested, as they are more likely to have been practicing the necessary social distancing required to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including wearing a mask, washing your hands, and remaining 6 feet apart from others.
COVID-19 is not believed to spread to individuals by just passing one another, so long as no aerosolized products (like sneezing or coughing) are exchanged. Members of the public are still encouraged to contact MCPH at 828.349.2517, if they believe that they have COVID-19 or are experiencing cough, shortness of breath, or fever greater than 100.4º F.
MCPH is working to identify other close contacts of these individuals. The CDC defines close contact as being within approximately 6 feet of a person with an infection with COVID-19 case for a prolonged period of time of 10 minutes or longer. Based on information provided by the individual, county health officials will assess risks of exposure, determine which if any additional measures are needed such as temperature and symptom checks, quarantine and/or testing.
Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions might be at higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19; however, anyone of any age can become infected with this illness.
Therefore, MCPH asks that community members strictly follow the Governor’s orders and continue to practice social distancing, as well as safe hygiene measures such as hand washing and frequently cleaning touched objects and surfaces. The public can monitor the different phases of re-opening and learn more about the restrictions HERE.
Symptoms for COVID-19 are fever, cough, other lower respiratory illness (shortness of breath). If you believe that you may have COVID-19, please call the Health Department at 828.349.2517. The call center is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., until further notice.