The top message from Randolph County’s Health Officer Dr. Kenneth Sowinski to residents of Randolph County is “We all have to do our part,” to alleviate the spread of US COVID-19 as he hopes to soothe worries that we are powerless to battle the infectious disease.
Sowinski confirmed on Wednesday morning that there are currently zero confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Randolph County, but he added that considering the federal restrictions on swab testing for the virus were eased less than a week ago, that number is likely not accurate.
The county currently has a few dozen swabs available to test those who are vulnerable and who meet the criteria for having COVID-19. Testing on those who are otherwise healthy – typically younger adults – is not vital from a personal standpoint, although it will ultimately help the overall public health crisis. In the long term, Sowinski said, he would like to see aggressive, liberal testing, perhaps modeled after South Korea, which mass produced coronavirus test kits well in advance.
Sowinski is optimistic that efforts to “flatten the curve,” will help mitigate the spread of COVID as communities such as Randolph County implement isolation measures to keep the daily number of disease cases at a manageable level for medical providers.
“The President and the CDC (Center for Disease Control) are giving us the right recommendations,” he said. “We all have to do our part of a community. If we practice hand sanitizing, social distancing, restricting our travel and staying at home if we have a cough or sneeze, these are things that are necessary to flatten the curve. Don’t panic and don’t hoard food. These things are critical for us all to do to minimize the impact, because the tsunami is coming.
“It’s not about us as individuals, it’s about us as a community,” Sowinski said. “The things we are doing now, like closing schools and limiting our social interactions, are necessary to save lives.
For most, the remedy for recovery of COVID to stay home and isolate while drinking plenty of liquids, eating chicken soup and getting plenty of rest. That’s what a doctor will likely recommend, says Sowinski, who is a family physician. A healthy person, while feeling miserable, just needs to wait it out. But unlike a regular cold or flu, it is imperative that those who are sick do not leave their homes or risk interacting with others, including family members.
While there has yet to be a confirmed positive test in Randolph County, there have been confirmed cases in Wells and Adams County to the north, and one was confirmed by the Indiana State Department of Health in Madison County to the west. As of this reporting, there are 39 confirmed cases in Indiana with two resulting in death. But the numbers are growing, in some areas exponentially. Plus, the number of known cases do not represent the actual number of unknown cases.
Just how effective will the efforts to distance ourselves be? Sowinski says we won’t know that answer until we know in retrospect.
“This is unprecedented. We are in unchartered territory, and we’re only going to know in two weeks. We’re at that place where it’s exploding, so my plea to the people of Randolph County and to all citizens is to help us flatten this curve so we can have the best chance of managing the spread of COVID.”