Similarities and Differences between Flu and COVID-19

With flu season right around the corner it is important to know the differences between flu and COVID-19. While COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. Also, COVID-19 has been observed to have more superspreading events than flu. This means the virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses. Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.

Learn more from CDC website >>>

Pike Health Department Reports Third COVID-19 Related Death

Pike Health Department Reports Third COVID-19 Related Death

August 31, 2020

Pike County, MO – The Pike Health Department was notified of the third death of a Pike County resident related to COVID-19. The resident was an elderly male in the 70-79 age range.  He tested positive for COVID-19 on August 25, 2020.

“We were saddened to hear the news and extend our sympathy,” says Administrator Rhonda Stumbaugh.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time”.

Stumbaugh stressed the importance to continue following guidelines from the Missouri Department of Health as well as the Pike County Health Department.  It is a crucial time, she said, “that we all work together and do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 to prevent any more precious lives taken as a result of this virus”.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. If you think, you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough, shortness or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice before showing up.

For more information, visit the DHSS website at www.health.mo.gov/coronavirus or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. A statewide COVID-19 hotline also operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-435-8411. You may also visit our website for COVID-19 updates at www.pikecountyhealth.org.

Pike Health Department Reports Second COVID-19 Related Death

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 27, 2020

 

Pike Health Department Reports Second COVID-19 Related Death

The Pike Health Department was notified of the second death of a Pike County resident related to COVID-19. The resident was a middle-aged male in the 50-59 age range.  He tested positive for COVID-19 on August 25, 2020.

“We were saddened to hear the news and extend our sympathy,” says Administrator Rhonda Stumbaugh.  “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family at this time”.

Stumbaugh stressed the importance to continue following guidelines from the Missouri Department of Health as well as the Pike County Health Department.  It is a crucial time, she said, “that we all work together and do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19 to prevent any more precious lives taken as a result of this virus”.

Older adults and people of any age who have serious underlying medical conditions may be at higher risk for more serious complications from COVID-19. If you think, you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough, shortness or difficulty breathing, call your health care provider for medical advice before showing up.

For more information, visit the DHSS website at www.health.mo.gov/coronavirus or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus. A statewide COVID-19 hotline also operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at 877-435-8411.

COVID-19 Testing: PCR, Antigen, and Antibody Tests Explained

COVID-19 Testing: PCR, Antigen, and Antibody Tests Explained.

At this time, there are three types of tests available for COVID-19: polymerase chain reaction (PCR), antigen, and antibody (serology) testing. PCR and antigen tests detect whether a person is currently infected, and serology detects whether a person had an infection in the past. This document is designed to explain the differences between PCR, antigen, and serology testing, and when one test might be used over another.

TOPICPCR TESTRAPID ANTIGEN TEST (RA)ANTIBODY (SEROLOGY) TEST
Why is the test used?PCR tests look for pieces of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, in the nose, throat, or other areas in the respiratory tract to determine if the person has an active infection.Antigen tests look for pieces of proteins that make up the SARSCoV-2 virus to determine if the person has an active infection.Serology looks for antibodies against SARS-CoV-2 in the blood to determine if there was a past infection.
How is the test performed?In most cases, a nasal or throat swab is taken by a healthcare provider and tested. Sometimes the test can be run while you wait, and sometimes the swab needs to be sent to a lab for testing.In most cases, a nasal or throat swab is taken by a healthcare provider and tested. Sometimes the test can be run while you wait, and sometimes the swab needs to be sent to a lab for testing.In most cases, a blood sample is taken and sent to a lab for testing.
What does a positive test result mean?A positive PCR test means that the person being tested has an active COVID-19 infection.A positive antigen test means that the person being tested has an active COVID-19 infection.A positive antibody test means that the person being tested was infected with COVID-19 in the past and that their immune system developed antibodies to try to fight it off.
What does a negative test result mean?A negative PCR test means that person was probably not infected at the time their sample was collected. However, it doesn’t mean they won’t get sick – it only means that they didn’t have COVID-19 at the time of testing.A negative antigen test means that SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins were not detected. However, a negative test does not rule out COVID-19. If there is still concern that a person has COVID-19 after a negative antigen test, then that person should be tested again with a PCR test.A negative antibody test means that the person may not have had COVID-19 in the past. However, they could still have a current infection, and the antibody test was collected too soon to give a positive result.

 

TOPICPCR TESTRAPID ANTIGEN TEST (RA)ANTIBODY (SEROLOGY) TEST
When is it helpful?• It can be used to determine who has an active infection.

• It can help identify people who are contagious to others.

• It can be used to quickly determine who has an active infection.

• It can help identify people who are contagious to others.

• It is a less expensive test than PCR.

• It can identify people who had an infection in the past, even if they had no symptoms of the illness.

• In some cases, it could help determine when COVID-19 illness occurred, since we know that IgM is formed before IgG and that IgM goes away before IgG.

• It can help determine who qualifies to donate convalescent plasma (a blood product that contains antibodies against COVID-19 and can be used as a COVID19 treatment).

• If lots of people take the test in a community, it can help public health leaders and researchers know what percentage of the population has already had COVID-19.

 

TOPICPCR TESTRAPID ANTIGEN TEST (RA)ANTIBODY (SEROLOGY) TEST
When is it not as helpful?• It does not help determine who had an infection in the past.

• It also does not help determine if a person who was exposed to COVID-19 will develop active infection during the two weeks after exposure. In some people, the virus can only be found by PCR for a few days at the beginning of the infection, so the test might not find the virus if the swab is taken more than a few days after the illness starts.

• In some people, the virus can be found by PCR in the nose and throat for several weeks, even longer than the time that they are actually contagious to other people.

• This test requires certain kinds of swabs that may be in short supply.

• It does not accurately rule out those who are not infected.

• Antigen tests are less sensitive than PCR tests, meaning there may be false negative results.

• Negative tests should be treated as presumptive. If a healthcare provider is concerned that the person has COVID-19, even after a negative antigen test, then the test result should be confirmed with PCR testing.

• It may be negative if it is used too close to the beginning of an infection, which is why it should not be used to detect active COVID-19 infection.

• In areas where there have not been many cases of COVID19, many of the positive test results will actually be false positives (see Positive Predictive Value2). Some antibody tests have low sensitivity3 and specificity4 and thus may not produce reliable results.

• Some antibody tests may cross-react with other coronaviruses that are not SARS-CoV2, the virus that causes COVID-19, leading to false test results.

• We do not know yet if having antibodies to the virus that causes COVID-19 can protect someone from getting infected again or, if they do, how long this protection might last. Until scientists get more information about whether antibodies protect against reinfection with this virus, everyone should continue to take steps to protect themselves and others, including staying at least 6 feet away from other people outside of their home (social distancing), even if they have had a positive antibody test.

TOPICPCR TESTRAPID ANTIGEN TEST (RA)ANTIBODY (SEROLOGY) TEST
What public health activities will be conducted?• If positive, the health department will conduct a case investigation. Contact tracing will be performed to identify individuals who might have been exposed to the PCR positive person when they could have spread COVID-19.

• If negative, no public health activities will be performed.

• If positive, the health department will interview the antigen-positive person about symptoms and if they were around someone who had COVID-19. Contact tracing will be performed. • If negative, no public health activities will be performed.• If positive, the health department will interview the antibody-positive person about symptoms and if they were around someone who had COVID-19. If the person had symptoms or was around someone with COVID-19, the health department will recommend they get a PCR test. No contact tracing will be performed.

• If negative, no public health activities will be performed.

 

Antibodies are formed by the body to fight off infections. Immunoglobulin M (IgM) is the first antibody that is formed against a germ, so it appears on tests first, usually within 1-2 weeks. The body then forms immunoglobulin G (IgG), which appears on tests about 2 weeks after the illness starts. IgM usually disappears from the blood within a few months, but IgG can last for years. Some antibody tests test for IgM and IgG, and some only test for IgG. Pike County Health Department is able to offer the SARS-CoV-2 Antibody, IgG test at our walk-in clinic with a Doctors order and by appointment. Learn more >>>

Positive predictive value is a measure of how likely it is that a positive test is a true positive rather than a false positive. This is dependent on how many people in the population being tested have had the disease. When there are very few people in the population that have had the disease, then there is a higher chance that a positive test is a false positive. When there are many people in a population that have had the disease, then there is a higher chance that a positive test is a true positive.

Sensitivity is sometimes called the “true positive rate.” It measures how frequently the test is positive when the person being tested actually has the disease. For example, when a test has 80% sensitivity, the test detects 80% of patients with the disease (true positives). However, 20% of patients with the disease are not detected (false negatives) by the test.

Specificity is sometimes called the “true negative rate.” It measures how frequently the test is negative when the person being tested doesn’t have the disease. For example, when a test has 80% specificity, the test correctly reports 80% of patients without the disease as test negative (true negatives). However, 20% of patients without the disease are incorrectly identified as testing positive (false positives) by the test.

 

 

Download PDF >>> COVID-19 Testing Explained

See also >>> Coronovirus Testing Basics from the FDA

Pike County Health Department Updates COVID-19 Dashboard

August 21, 2020

Pike County Health Department Updates COVID-19 Dashboard

Pike County, MO – The Pike County Health Department (PCHD) would like to thank everyone for their patience during our transition of the new state reporting system this week.  In addition to the new system we will also be adding more data on our county dashboard due to an increase in Rapid Antigen testing in our area.

As your local health department we strive to provide accurate data through monitoring, surveillance and risk management to ensure the community is aware during this ever changing pandemic.  At this time reporting at the state level, through the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, for both state and county specific cases is only including PCR laboratory confirmed tests (as stated on their site).  PCHD has reported in the same manner and currently reports COVID-19 data on active cases, confirmed cases, recovered cases, hospitalizations and deaths.

Due to the increasing number in our County of people opting to have the rapid antigen test performed we felt it pertinent to add those numbers to our dashboard as the last two weeks have shown we have had a substantial number of positive rapid antigen tests being reported.

The United States FDA made the rapid antigen test available under an Emergency Use Authorization, but the state considers these positive results as presumptive laboratory evidence and at this time reported as a probable case. A probable case, as per MODHSS case definition, is someone that has been exposed to someone with a PCR laboratory confirmed test, has developed COVID-19 symptoms, and did not receive a PCR test OR had a positive rapid antigen test. We will be reporting the positives of these rapid antigen tests going forward.

PCHD continues to urge residents to continue social distancing, avoid large crowds, and to wear mask in public especially when you are unable to social distance.  For more information on COVID-19 go to our website @ pikecountyhealth.org.

 

Learn more about COVID-19 Tests >>>

PCHD reminds community to stay cautious of COVID-19 Virus

August 10, 2020

Pike County, MO – As your local Public Health Department throughout this pandemic we are working considerably hard to address safety concerns and inform the community on how they can help slow the spread of COVID-19 within Pike County.

With our recent rise in positive cases, we feel it necessary to remind everyone that we are still under the Governor’s Executive order which includes social distancing and taking precautions when social distancing cannot be maintained.

As event season is upon us and like all actions during this pandemic, there are significant consequences to the decisions to host/attend mass gatherings, and we are not immune to those effects. While there are no national or State mandates in place that do not allow large events, we as a local health department will not support/recommend such events take place.

Returning to normal is our ultimate goal for not only the physical health of everyone but for our own mental health as well. We encourage our residents to find safe ways to get the fresh air and socialization we all crave during these crazy times while remaining cautious about this active virus within our community. We urge everyone to continue taking preventative measures to help slow the spread of COVID-19 within our county.

This is a recommendation and not a mandate and will remain as such unless there are substantial local changes related to the pandemic or further guidance from state or national levels warrants the enactment of an official mandate. It is the hope that everyone will take precautions and decisions are made in the best interest of our citizens as well as realizing the work load that has been put on our Health Care Providers, Hospital, and Local Health Department.  Pike County Health Department will continue to follow CDC data and recommendations while monitoring any changes in the spread of this virus within our county.

Follow case counts and resources on our website at www.pikecountyhealth.org/covid-19/

 

COVID-19 Antibody testing available at Pike County Health Department

We are now able to offer the SARS-CoV-2 Antibody, IgG test at our walk-in clinic with a Doctors order and by appointment. This test is done through lab-corp and at present time costs $55.00. Your results will be sent to your doctor within 1-3 days and will call you to inform you of the results. Learn more about testing results.

This test helps to detect IgG antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, to help identify individuals who have been exposed to the virus. This test is recommended in individuals at least 10 days post symptom onset or following exposure to individuals with confirmed COVID-19.

Antibody tests check your blood by looking for antibodies, which may tell you if you had a past infection with the virus that causes COVID-19. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off infections and can provide protection against getting that disease again (immunity). Antibodies are disease specific. For example, measles antibodies will protect you from getting measles if you are exposed to it again, but they won’t protect you from getting mumps if you are exposed to mumps.

CDC does not know if the antibodies that result from SARS-CoV-2 infection will provide someone with protection (immunity) from getting infected again. If antibodies do provide immunity, it is unknown how much antibody is protective or how long protection might last. CDC scientists are currently conducting studies to answer these questions.

Except in instances in which viral testing is delayed, antibody tests should not be used to diagnose a current COVID-19 infection. An antibody test may not show if you have a current COVID-19 infection because it can take 1–3 weeks after infection for your body to make antibodies. It is currently unsure how “far back” this test can track antibodies in those who think they may of had it previously as tests and studies are still being done. To see if you are currently infected, you need a viral test. Viral tests identify the virus in samples from your respiratory system, such as a swab from the inside of your nose.

For more questions please call our office at 573-324-2111

Sources/Learn More: 

LabCorp SARS-CoV-2 Antibody, IgG

CDC: Test for Past Infection

Serology Testing for COVID-19 at CDC

82 Pike County Residents Tested at Drive-Thru Event

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PIKE COUNTY, MO. (June 25, 2020) – Pike County was chosen as one of the National Guard & Department of Health and Senior Services testing sites for the numerous Drive-Thru COVID-19 testing events that were organized. As your local Health Department, it was our duty to establish a location that would fit the need for such an event and help inform the community of the service it would be providing.

On Friday, June 19th, 2020 the National Guard tested 111 people that registered for a drive-thru time slot. Out of those 111 people 82 were Pike County residents. 3 Pike County residents were contacted that they tested positive for Coronavirus. The results of investigating these positive cases determined that 1 case was a previous positive case that was re-tested and the 2 new cases were symptomatic close contacts to an already confirmed case.

“I felt like the event went smoothly and the National Guard did a great job keeping it running smoothly,” said Rhonda Stumbaugh, Pike County Health Department Administrator. “I was glad to see how many people came to take advantage of this free event. I was pleased to find out that out of the 82 Pike County residents whom were tested there were no asymptomatic positive cases. We had expected the 2 new cases, so it was nice to see that we really had no unexpected positive cases arise from the event,” added Stumbaugh.

As the state is now fully open for business we would like to remind everyone to continue taking safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other respiratory viruses by washing your hands often and staying home when you are sick.


GOVERNOR PARSON ANNOUNCES MISSOURI WILL FULLY REOPEN, ENTER PHASE 2 OF RECOVERY PLAN ON JUNE 16

 — Pending expiration of Phase 1 on June 15, Governor Mike Parson announced today that Missouri will fully reopen and enter Phase 2 of its “Show Me Strong Recovery” Plan on Tuesday, June 16, 2020.

“It is truly incredible to think about how far Missouri has come since March. At that time, no one knew what to expect. There was a lot of uncertainty, worry, and concern,” Governor Parson said. “Here we are today, just over 90 days since our first COVID-19 case in Missouri, and I am proud to say we have overcome all of these challenges and more than met our four pillars to reopen.”

During Phase 2, there will be no statewide health order. All statewide restrictions will be lifted, though local officials will still have the authority to put further rules, regulations, or ordinances in place.

The decision to reopen was dependent on the four essential “Show Me Strong Recovery” pillars:

  1. Expand testing capacity and volume in the state
  2. Expand reserves of PPE by opening public and private supply chains
  3. Continue to monitor and, if necessary, expand hospital and health care system capacity
  4. Improve ability to predict potential outbreaks using Missouri’s public health data

Weekly testing in Missouri has increased more than 220 percent from approximately 16,000 test encounters the week of April 20 to over 53,000 encounters the week of May 25. Over the past two weeks, the state has averaged more than 10,000 tests per weekday.

Missouri continues to receive and distribute PPE across the state. Yesterday, the state reached a record PPE shipment, expanding to include not only hospitals, health care facilities, and EMS but also dental offices as more are reopening across the state. Yesterday’s shipments included the following:

  • 17,230 gowns
  • 42,720 N95 masks
  • 262,000 gloves
  • 77,100 surgical masks
  • 18,432 face shields

Missouri has also received national recognition for the use of its PPE marketplace, which helps health care providers with Missouri manufactures and suppliers. Currently, there are over 100 hospitals, 436 suppliers, and 1,567 health care providers, businesses, and other organizations registered in the PPE marketplace.

Regarding hospital capacity, hospitalizations fell by 43 percent statewide from May 1 to June 10. In April, the state converted a hotel into an alternate care site in just 11 days.

Missouri now also has a comprehensive COVID-19 dashboard containing data from across the state on testing, positivity rate, deaths, and hospitalizations. Much of the data is broken down further by county or demographics.

“We have learned and accomplished so much since March. Knowing what we know now, we are much better prepared to deal with COVID-19 going forward, and we are fully confident that Missouri is ready to take the next step,” Governor Parson said.

While Missouri will fully reopen on June 16, Governor Parson emphasized the importance of continuing social distancing and practicing proper hygiene to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

“We must remember that COVID-19 is not gone,” Governor Parson said. “It is still extremely important for everyone to continue social distancing. Be proactive. Avoid large, congested crowds, and if you can’t social distance, take extra precautions to protect yourself and those around you.”

“We all know how to do this now, and it is up to us to take responsibility for our own actions,” Governor Parson continued.

In preparation of Phase 2, Governor Parson signed Executive Order 20-12 extending the state of emergency in Missouri through December 30, 2020, in order to utilize federal CARES Act funding. Extending the state of emergency will also allow continued flexibility in deploying resources around the state as Missouri reopens and recovers from COVID-19.

Executive Order 20-12 also further extends four previous Executive Orders assisting with Missouri’s COVID-19 response through December 30:

  • Executive Order 20-04 easing regulatory burdens and certain provisions related to telemedicine and motor carriers
  • Executive Order 20-05 allowing the sale of unprepared restaurant foods to the public
  • Executive Order 20-06 mobilizing the National Guard in our response efforts
  • Executive Order 20-08 waiving the requirement for a person to be physically present in front of a notary public

Extending these Executive Orders is consistent with the emergency declaration and gives Missourians more time to adjust as the state works through the economic recovery process. To view Executive Order 20-12, click here.

Governor Parson was joined today by Missouri Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon to share more details about the state’s recovery plans as well as a new economic recovery dashboard.

To view Governor Parson’s remarks from today’s briefing, click here. Pictures will be available on Governor Parson’s Flickr page.

VISIT THE OFFICIAL ONLINE PRESS RELEASE >>>

Drive-through Community COVID-19 Testing in Pike County

COMMUNITY COVID-19 TESTING IN PIKE COUNTY:

FRIDAY, JUNE 19

PIKE COUNTY, MO – The Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services (DHSS) and Missouri National Guard will perform drive-through community testing for COVID-19 at the Pike County Fairgrounds on Friday June 19 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The test is open to all Missouri residents; they do not have to have COVID-19 symptoms to be eligible for the test. There is no cost for the test for the individual. Any Missouri resident who wants to be tested with a nasal swab to see if they have an active COVID-19 infection can do so.

Appointments are available through DHSS at www.health.mo.gov/communitytest or by calling the state hotline at (877) 435- 8411. Individuals will be given a 15-minute appointment block.

 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to partner with Missouri Department of Health & Senior Services and the Missouri National Guard on this event,” said Rhonda Stumbaugh, Administrator. “It will help in the efforts to learn more about the prevalence of COVID-19 transmission in our area and we hope our community will consider choosing to take advantage of this opportunity.”

The address for the Pike County Fairgrounds is 15884 US-54, Bowling Green, MO 63334. There are 21 counties statewide conducting testing over a 2-week period, beginning on June 8. DHSS has stated that the goal is to test 10,900 people over those 2 weeks.

According to DHSS, location selection for this period of community sampling is based on inadequate testing according to the number of confirmed cases and the number of total tests conducted prior to these events. Counties hosting upcoming community testing events are Scott, Platte, Stoddard, Carter, Ripley, Cass, Franklin, Johnson, Pettis, Lafayette, Ray, Warren, Carroll, Chariton, Lincoln, Lewis, Moniteau, Pike, Scotland, Montgomery and Osage.

Upon arrival at the testing site, individuals will drive through, and be asked questions, including about symptoms they may or may not have. Members of the National Guard will collect the nasopharyngeal specimen.

Those who receive a positive test should stay home, isolate themselves and call their health care provider if they have any concerns.

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