As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Union County soared to 240 last week, Grant County health

officials said the county is better situated than others to handle an uptick in positive cases.

“We’re in a good position right now,” Grant County Health Department Administrator Kimberly Lindsay said. “We have the personal protective equipment, the testing and the contact tracing to handle a spike in cases.”

Lindsay said, between the hospital and the Health Department, the county has 500 test kits.

Blue Mountain Hospital Emergency Medical Services Director Rebekah Rand said the hospital has been watching the situation unfold in Union County, having discussions about what the implications could mean for Grant County.

Rand said the hospital met Friday to “review and reaffirm” the hospital’s “surge plan.”

The hospital, she said, has rapid testing capability, which can provide a result in roughly 15 minutes and ensures the hospital can quickly identify, isolate and treat positive cases.

The hospital has a 14-day supply of PPE on hand, which includes roughly 1,000 N95 masks, 10,000 procedure masks, 100 face shields and an “adequate” supply of gloves, isolation gowns and hand sanitizer, she said.

Lindsay said the health department has one full-time contact tracer and an employee who is training that will work full time as a contact tracer or, should the county not see an influx of cases, work on other COVID-19-related tasks.

There are contact tracers from the state, she said, and counties have volunteered to contact trace for other counties seeing more cases.

“Between what we currently have, what we’re adding and what is available from the state and other counties,” she said, “I feel like we’re in a very good spot compared to other counties.”

While the county handles contact tracing, the hospital staff are ready to step in as contact tracers for the Health Department, Rand said.

Lindsay said, without a cure or a vaccine, it is essential to be thoughtful about social distancing as the state opens back up.

“We’ve opened up, and in Grant County, we haven’t seen an increase in cases, and that’s great,” she said. “And I hope that that continues, but we are seeing an increase in cases, and Grant County isn’t immune.”

Reporter

Steven Mitchell is a reporter for the Blue Mountain Eagle. Contact him at steven@bmeagle.com or 541-575-0710.

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