Health Department urging residents to keep journal of whereabouts to prevent COVID-19 spread

BUCKHANNON – The Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department is urging county residents to keep a journal of physical contact made in the past two weeks, stressing it is “imperative” to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.

“If you get infected, the state gives us a guideline and a template, and we have to know every place you’ve been, every person you have been in contact with for the last two weeks,” said Sue McKisic, nurse director for the county health department. “It is imperative that we stop this virus.”

McKisic suggests people write down the names, addresses and phone numbers of all individuals that they’ve had contact with over the last two weeks and keep the list ongoing. The journal should also include the number of individuals who reside in the household as well as names and ages.

“If you give me a list of 150 people, we have to call those 150 people and ask them ‘where have you been in the last two weeks and how many people have you talked to?’” she said. “It is a vicious cycle.”

Should an individual test positive for the virus, McKisic said the health department would need to track down the people with whom the patient has made contact in the past weeks. As of Wednesday afternoon, McKisic said there were no positive cases of COVID-19 in Upshur County to her knowledge.

“We have to be able to keep a record of the symptoms [people are experiencing],” she said. “We have to be able to arrange testing on them, and it’s not an easy task.”

Once officials have received journal information from a COVID-positive patient, the health department will begin reaching out to individuals who have made contact with the patient.

“We will have to send a certified letter, and we definitely have to make three attempts and if we don’t get them in three attempts, we can probably have law enforcement, especially if they are definitely high risk, help us,” McKisic said.

McKisic is strongly encouraging residents to follow CDC guidelines, practice proper hygiene, listen to Gov. Jim Justice’s stay-at-home order and disinfect highly utilized items — doorknobs, light switches, sinks, etc.

Follow the ‘Upshur-Buckhannon Health Department’ on Facebook or call 304-472-2810 with questions.

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