Dear Mitchell County Residents,
As many are aware, the Kansas Department of Health and Environment released a press release on Wednesday, December 2nd discussing the option for shortened quarantine periods for individuals exposed to a COVID-19 positive person. KDHE left the decision up to each individual county as to whether we would opt in to the proposed changes, or stay at the original 14-day quarantine. After consulting with the Mitchell County Medical Officer, the Mitchell County Health Department will opt in and allow the shortened quarantine periods, with the following considerations.
The quarantine begins from the date of last exposure to the positive COVID person. For individuals not testing, the quarantine will be a full 10 days, with self-monitoring of symptoms for the full 14 days. For individuals who do get tested, the quarantine period will be a full 7 days, with self-monitoring for the full 14 days. Please be aware, availability of testing supplies and personal protective equipment is at times limited, and testing may be prioritized based upon highest need. The incubation period for COVID-19 remains 2-14 days post-exposure, so it is crucial to self-monitor for symptoms the entire 14 days and stay home if symptoms develop.
The Mitchell County Health Department will continue to allow modified quarantines for cases in which both the positive person and close contact are wearing a mask, so please everyone do your part and wear a mask. Furthermore, every case in situational, which may cause the option for a modified quarantine or a shortened quarantine to vary. The option for a shortened quarantine will be effective as of December 3, 2020.
At the health department, we have received an increase in questions regarding a vaccine for COVID-19. While information from KDHE remains to be preliminary, the health department has completed and submitted all the necessary paperwork in order to provide vaccine when available. We do expect a phased approach to be taken, with essential workers and vulnerable populations being of highest priority initially. We have also developed distribution plans and are actively working with our health care partners to ensure when a vaccine is available, we are ready.
Lastly, we cannot stress enough the importance of washing your hands, social distancing at least 6 feet or more, wear a mask, cover coughs and sneezes, monitor your health daily, and please stay home when feeling ill. If you feel you need to seek medical attention, please do so by calling your physician. Reminder, please do not arrive at the clinic or hospital prior to calling ahead. Thank you to everyone for your continued patience and vigilance, especially during the holiday season. Also, a big thank-you to our health care workers continuing to make the patients of Mitchell County a priority every day!
Cortney Murrow, Administrator
Mitchell County Health Department