First cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Perry County

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PERRY COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT) – The Perry County Health Department has confirmed the county’s first three cases of COVID-19.

All patients are in isolation at this time.

Gretchen Ross spoke with Perry County health officials in regards to the new cases.

Full Comments:

Gretchen Ross: What can you tell us so far about these three cases?

Dr. William Marcrum, Perry County Health Officer: Currently we have two male patients and one female. I honestly cannot give you an age for any of the three of them. Our health nurses are making their contact calls and hopefully we will be able to know where these patients may have been prior to and during the time that they were symptomatic.

Gretchen: Okay, so two males and one female. Do you know how many people the county has tested so far and how many people are waiting for results?

Dr. Marcrum: Our best guess is that we have done approximately 100 to 110 tests. The Perry County Memorial Hospital as well as local physicians offices have opted to start using commercial labs for our COVID testing because the CDC requirements are so stringent that it’s quite honestly difficult to get a test through. I don’t think any of the three patients that we had turn up positive would have met the CDC guidelines for going through a test.

Gretchen: Do you know when you all started testing?

Dr. Marcrum: I can’t really give you a date on that, I honestly don’t know. It seems like about three years ago but I don’t think it’s been quite that long.

Gretchen: Why do you think that Perry County didn’t have any confirmed cases until today? Is there a reason for that?

Dr. Marcrum: I think a couple of things behind that. First, we are a fairly rural area, and we don’t have a lot of mass gatherings. Honestly I think our citizens for the most part have been doing the social distancing and avoiding the non-essential travel. I know it’s hard to get hand sanitizer at any of the local stores but I think there’s a lot of hand washing going on. So I think a lot of it has been our location and the fact that we don’t have a lot of people congregating in one place.

Gretchen: To wrap up, any precautions or things you’re telling folks in Perry County to stay safe?

Dr. Marcrum: The CDC is now recommending that persons out in public now wear a facemask or some sort of facial covering. I’m going to go ahead and say I agree with that, and continue to wash your hands, continue to stay six feet apart, and if you don’t need to be out, don’t be out. And if you do need to be out, only take one person at a time. There’s no reason to have three people hanging on to a shopping cart at the local grocery store or at Walmart.

Gretchen: Alright, thank you Dr. Marcrum. Thank you for your time today, we appreciate it.

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(This story was originally published on April 9, 2020)

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