Clinton County Health Department Administrator Rodney Wann announced on Sunday night that a Clinton County Call Center would begin taking calls from county residents at 10 a.m. March 30.

The Clinton County Call Center for COVID-19 was brought about through a partnership between the Clinton County Health Department and Healthy Communities of Clinton County Coalition. The public may call the county-wide call center at 652-6501 with “general questions concerning the COVID-19 pandemic, the status of county testing, what to do if you have symptoms or are ill, and many other areas of assistance.” Healthcare providers with general questions on testing/criteria can call the center dialing 652-6502.

The call center will be funded by the Clinton County Government and coordinated with the Clinton County Emergency Management Agency and 911.

This center will be staffed by Community Health Staff as well as county and nursing volunteers. Calls will be taken in the order they are received. Information will be updated as needed, and the center may refer callers to additional services when appropriate or available.

Current hours of operation are 10 a.m. to noon and 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday until the situation dictates a change. Managers will evaluate the need for additional hours of operation based on call volume.

During hours the call center is not staffed, general questions from the public or healthcare provider inquiries about COVID-19 may be directed 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to the Indiana State Department of Health COVID-19 Call Center at the toll-free number 877-826-0011.

Clinton County Health Officer guidance issued

Dr. Stephen Tharp, the Clinton County Health Officer, released on Sunday evening guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic and how to seek medical attention when experiencing similar symptoms.

Accoring to Dr. Tharp, Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Patients with COVID-19 have experienced mild to severe respiratory illness, including fever, cough and shortness of breath. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel (new) coronavirus. It is not the same as other types of coronaviruses that commonly circulate among people and cause mild illness, like the common cold.

The virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets when an infected person coughs or sneezes. It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Indiana State Department of Health will “continue to focus on testing the highest-risk individuals so that we can continue to quickly provide results needed to protect the most vulnerable residents.”

Those individuals include:

Anyone who is admitted to the hospital whose physician is concerned that their symptoms are consistent with COVID-19.

Symptomatic healthcare workers (inpatient, outpatient, nursing home, and other long-term service facilities) and first responders who provide direct care to at-risk patients.

Symptomatic long-term care facility residents or staff who have direct contact with patients.

According to ISDH guidelines, if you are ill and experiencing signs and symptoms identified as possible COVID-19 and have respiratory distress or an underlying medical condition, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

If you have a medical appointment, call your doctor’s office or emergency department, and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients. You can also consult a healthcare provider through telehealth, if that is an option.

If you are ill or have the signs and symptoms but are not having respiratory issues, self-isolate at home, do not go to work, and contact your medical provider if your condition worsens or if you have an underlying medical condition.