Waiting on our call?

As community transmission cases in our county continue to increase, it is becoming more difficult for healthcare providers to contact positive cases the same day results are received. We have made some changes within our calling procedures to help streamline and make our necessary calls more efficient. We also appreciate the patience of our community as we work through this influx of cases.

If you have received a positive test result it is critical that you self-isolate at home, even if you have not heard from the health department yet. The same is true if you know you have been exposed to someone with COVID-19; you need to begin a 14-day quarantine starting from the last day of exposure. More information on isolation and quarantine can be found on our website under the Isolation & Quarantine Guidelines tab.

PCHD case investigations are prioritized to meet the state ordered mandates. The current state mandates require that PCHD completes case investigations for school age youth, cases associated with a school exposure, individuals 65+ years old, and cases associated with a long-term care facility before other cases. Cases that do not fall into these categories will likely experience a delay in initial contact.

For basic COVID-19 information you can call the Missouri COVID-19 Hotline 7 days a week from 7am-9pm at 877-435-8411. You may also use our COVID-19 contact form online, or call our office at 573-324-2111 ext. 135. If you are in need of a release letter for work or school you may use our online form or call our office 573-324-2111 ext. 140.

Any gatherings without precautions should be avoided in the coming months. These high-risk interactions can cause COVID-19 to spread rapidly through multiple households. This puts the entire community at risk as people are considered contagious 2 days before they develop symptoms.

Precautions you can take are simple:
• Stay 6 feet apart from those who do not live with you
• Wear a mask
• Wash your hands

Once again, we are urging Pike County residents to take personal action to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. Our staff has been working tirelessly for the past 9 months, including evenings, weekends, and holidays, but we cannot do it without your help. Your willingness to participate in mitigation strategies has a direct impact on our ability keep the rest of our community healthy and thriving.

PCHD Cancels all upcoming events

Due to COVID-19 concerns our agency has decided to cancel all of our public events until further notice.

These events include but are not limited to:
– Turkey Trot 5K Run/Walk
– Veteran Appreciation Fair
– Camp Horizon
– Cookies & Cocoa with Santa
– Valentine Gala

 

We are saddened to have to make this decision but feel it is in the best interest of our community’s health not to hold such events that host large amounts of people. We hope to resume our events next year and that you will join us with excitement when we do!

PCHD makes changes to COVID-19 Dashboard

October 23, 2020

Pike County Health Department makes changes to COVID-19 Dashboard

With the recent expanded Missouri COVID-19 dashboard and the amount of statistical data that it provides, Pike County Health Department (PCHD) has decided to report only Active Case Counts on its website going forward.

The new Missouri COVID-19 dashboard offers the same information that PCHD has been providing and now provides even more detailed data and statistics. This is an amazing resource for Pike County residents wanting to get a better understanding of how Pike County compares to others within Missouri through these statistics and additional data. PCHD will have a direct link to the state dashboard that can be found on the dedicated COVID-19 page under the Case Counts tab. We will continue to give full case counts through our weekly E-NEWS blast on Wednesday afternoons.

Pike County Health Department will continue to report daily Current Active Case counts on our website as we feel are the most pertinent to our residents as it allows for better understanding of the current COVID-19 situation within our county.

We encourage our residents to utilize the states expanded dashboard that can be found by visiting our website’s dedicated COVID-19 webpage OR directly from the state website here: Missouri COVID-19 Dashboard. 

 

Governor Parson Highlights Missouri COVID-19 Data

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

October 21, 2020

Governor Parson Highlights Missouri COVID-19 Data

Provides Additional Background on Case Counts, Deaths, Positivity Rate

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – During today’s weekly briefing at the State Capitol, Governor Mike Parson provided additional background to help explain Missouri’s COVID-19 data and calculations used in comparison to other sources.

“With so many different methods and calculations, providing real-time data at this quantity and level of detail comes with its own set of challenges,” Governor Parson said. “However, we have continually worked to be transparent, address these challenges, and provide Missourians with the most accurate and up-to-date information as possible, and we remain committed to helping citizens understand the impact of COVID-19 on our state.”

Since early COVID-19 reporting in March, Governor Parson’s administration and the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) have worked to share context surrounding the numbers that are reported and added each day to the public health dashboard. Acknowledgments have consistently been provided to explain drastic shifts in the numbers when they exist.

Testing and Positive Cases

For example, on some occasions, DHSS ingests a “dump” of a high number of test records from a laboratory or provider that has accumulated over a period of time, either due to lack of understanding of reporting requirements or technical malfunctions. This can sometimes result in a spike of positive cases that did not all occur within a 24-hour time frame but rather over a period of several days.

Similarly, DHSS has also consistently seen a decrease in the number of tests, and therefore cases, reported on weekends compared to weekdays. This cycle causes non-representative dips and spikes in the numbers each day on the dashboard as those samples are tested and reported by labs.

COVID-19 Deaths

Similar situations also occur with reported COVID-19 deaths. For instance, approximately once per week, DHSS analyzes incoming death certificates and links COVID-19 associated deaths with the appropriate cases in the state’s disease surveillance system. Those that had not already been reported to the state by another entity are then captured and reported publicly through the dashboard. This activity typically causes a sharp increase in the deaths added to Missouri’s total the following day, which is most often on Saturdays.

For these reasons, Governor Parson and DHSS encourage individuals to follow the past 7-day trends for all data sets and how these trends have changed over time to get a better sense of COVID-19’s impact in the state.

Positivity Rates

Nationally and locally, there has also been much focus on positivity rates. Positivity rates are an important metric used by public health experts to understand the spread of COVID-19 despite the “ups and downs” of total testing numbers from week to week.

However, multiple methods are used to calculate positivity rate, so rates often vary depending on the source and how. Many states calculate the rate differently which means comparing the rates reported out by each individual state is often misleading. Some states do not report positivity rates at all.

To date, DHSS has used a conservative method to calculate positivity rate. DHSS “de-duplicates” testing data, meaning that only a person’s first positive or negative test is counted. This method can cause recent positivity rate measures to appear higher than they would if other methods were used.

For example, the 7-day positivity rate as of today excludes individuals who tested negative in the past week if they have already tested negative at any point since the start of the pandemic. Over 900,000 Missourians have been tested more than once since March, so many negative test results are not counted in more recent 7-day positivity rates.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) uses a different methodology. This method simply takes the total number of positive tests divided by the total number of tests. The rate is lower using this method because it does not “de-duplicate” individuals who have been tested multiple times since March.

Both methods can help public health authorities understand the spread of COVID-19 in their communities. Beginning today, DHSS will report both positivity rates on the public health dashboard.

The CDC provides more information on the different ways to calculate positivity rate on its website.

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Contact: Kelli R. Jones

Communications Director

Work:  573-751-0765

Mobile: 573-508-9072

Email: communications@governor.mo.gov

Website: www.governor.mo.gov

This year, the flu vaccine is more important than ever before

This year, the flu vaccine is more important than ever before
DHSS urges Missourians to get vaccinated

JEFFERSON CITY, MO — In a typical year, over 100,000 Missourians become sick from the flu. Many Missourians of all ages become seriously ill and some are hospitalized. 2020 is anything but typical, and state health officials are urging Missourians to get the flu vaccine by the end of October.

“We always put individual patients first, and because of that, we are concerned that fewer than half of Missouri adults typically get a flu vaccine. This year, we want to do better. Do it for yourself, or do it to protect your loved ones,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS). “As the Governor has said, we are not powerless against COVID-19. This also applies to the flu. One measure you can take to protect yourself during this time of COVID-19 is to get a flu vaccine.”

Symptoms of flu and COVID-19 significantly overlap one another. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, chills and fatigue. Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea. It is unknown how a person could be affected by experiencing both viruses at the same time.

“To ensure our state has the capacity to care for COVID-19 patients, we need to do whatever we can to prevent strain on our health care system and keep Missourians healthy,” said  Williams. “Flu vaccines are therefore important to the COVID-19 fight. Preventing flu means fewer unnecessary medical visits and hospitalizations. Preventing flu also reduces disruptions to our daily lives – at home, at work, at school.”

DHSS is working closely with local public health agencies to increase immunization rates among adult populations who are most at risk for contracting COVID-19. Ancillary supplies and vaccine transport coolers have also been purchased for local providers to host adult flu vaccine clinics or offer curbside or drive-through clinics. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has provided Missouri with an additional 300,000 adult flu vaccines to meet what is expected to be an increased demand.

“While the effectiveness of the vaccine varies from year to year, studies have shown some protection is better than none at all,” said Williams. “You are less likely to spread the virus to those around you if vaccinated, and it has also been shown to cause symptoms to be more mild if you do become infected.”

Groups of people at high risk for flu-related complications include children age 5 and under, adults older than 65, pregnant women, and those with weakened immune systems or chronic medical conditions such  as asthma, diabetes or heart disease. Those who are in a high risk group and experience symptoms of the flu should contact their primary health care provider.

Flu vaccines are already becoming available, and it is recommended annually for everyone 6 months and older without an increased risk for a serious adverse reaction. Contact your health care provider, or find a location near you using VaccineFinder.

DHSS will launch a multimedia public awareness campaign starting Oct. 1 that focuses on the people–friends, family, front-line workers–who are protected when one person gets vaccinated.

For more information, visit health.mo.gov/flu.

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Attached Photo: Dr. Randall Williams, DHSS Director, received his flu vaccination this morning, September 25, at the Cole County Health Department. 

 

About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo

DHSS adjusts statewide COVID-19 hotline hours

DHSS adjusts statewide COVID-19 hotline hours
Hotline sees decline in overnight call volume

JEFFERSON CITY, MO – On March 11, four days after the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Missouri, the Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) quickly activated a statewide public hotline for citizens or health care providers needing guidance regarding COVID-19. Since that time, more than 112,000 calls have been taken regarding testing, symptoms, regulations and more. 

The 24/7 hotline will shift to a new schedule beginning Oct. 1. Calls will be accepted from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week. Current data shows that 93% of calls are received during this timeframe. 

“In March, there was more uncertainty about COVID-19 and its impacts than there is today,” said Williams. “We learn more each week and have been intentional about getting information out to the public through our website, social media and the traditional news media. Additionally, Gov. Parson and various Cabinet members have held more than 75 livestreamed press briefings to answer questions and keep the public informed about the latest information on COVID-19 in Missouri. It remains important that people get the information they need to be safe and protect the health of their communities.” 

The hotline’s call volume peaked in late March with more than 15,000 calls in one week. Currently, approximately 3,000 calls are handled in a week. The schedule is being adjusted to allow the State to use resources most efficiently.

“Consistent with our whole government approach, many of our team members who have been staffing the call center have stepped up and outside their normal role to help fill this need for our state,” said Dr. Randall Williams, Director of DHSS. “Providing Missourians with the information they need has been crucial. I’m grateful for their willingness to adapt their work lives and even personal schedules in order to ensure we do that.” 

The COVID-19 hotline can be reached at 877-435-8411, and translation services are available. Additionally, DHSS’s virtual assistant, the COVID-19 Chatbot, is always available at health.mo.gov

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About the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services: The department seeks to be the leader in protecting health and keeping people safe. More information about DHSS can be found at http://health.mo.gov or find us on Facebook and Twitter @HealthyLivingMo

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