Health district faces delay in handling COVID-19 cases, implements changes

WICHITA COUNTY (KFDX / KJTL) – There are two more COVID-19-related deaths in Wichita County on Wednesday, bringing the total this year to seven.

The Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District reported 247 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, January 5.

“Over the past two or three weeks we’ve seen a substantial increase in the number of cases per day and, of course, in total weekly,” said Amy Fagan, deputy director of public health for Wichita Falls-Wichita County. .

COVID-19 cases in Wichita County continue to rise as health officials await state testing to determine whether or not the Omicron variant is present in our area.

“Just today alone, ending Sunday until today [Wednesday], we are 725 cases for the week, so this is very concerning, ”said Fagan.

Fagan said that although a positive case of the Omicron variant has not been confirmed in the county, based on information provided by the state, they believe the variant is here.

“What I see in which cases individuals are reporting to us is consistent with what we are seeing in other places where the variant has been confirmed and so it means that there is a higher rate of re-infections and we So we’ve seen that number increase dramatically here too, we’re also seeing a higher number of vaccine discovery cases, ”Fagan said.

As a result of these growing numbers, case managers in the Wichita Falls-Wichita County Public Health District have been in a backlog.

Fagan said they knew they would have to make certain changes themselves from a 10-day to five-day quarantine break guidelines, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We have worked closely with our medical providers to make sure they are aware of the updated guidelines, and they issue these exclusion and return notes to their patients as they would with other illnesses,” he said. declared Fagan.

Additionally, Fagan said they’ve changed their information-gathering process to spend less time on the phone with individuals, so everyone in the home monitoring their symptoms can hear from their case managers in a timely manner.

They also added more investigators to the cases.

What if residents do not hear from the health service at the end of their five days of isolation?

“If they understand the rules, and everything is on our website, it’s okay for someone to follow those rules and come back if they have a doctor’s note and are no longer showing symptoms,” said Fagan.

Fagan said that although the CDC has said you can come out of isolation with improvement in symptoms, the health department said individuals are expected to have no symptoms after the five days of isolation.

Fagan said they are working to meet the needs of residents of Wichita County.

Even after these five days, people should continue to wear masks for an additional five days as an added precaution.

Fagan also wished to add that the health district does not accept home tests for a definitive positive or negative result.

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