The Williamson County Health Department is working in partnership with other local, regional and state officials to implement prevention and mitigation strategies for local communities based on guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and by state leadership. Williamson County has a local preparedness plan for pandemics that is practiced at least once a year, and this plan is the basis for the county’s response to COVID-19. Local leaders are making decisions based on the needs and best interests of Williamson County citizens.
“We’re working to ensure that everyone in Williamson County that has a clinical picture consistent with COVID-19 can be tested,” said Cathy Montgomery, Williamson County Health Department Director. “We need all Williamson County residents to join the effort to prevent further spread of this illness in our communities.”
It is important to note the testing process for COVID-19 is not like that of something like a rapid flu test, with results provided on the spot. Testing for COVID-19 is conducted in the laboratory, so tests themselves are not distributed to health care facilities. Rather, health care providers take samples from their patients and submit them to a laboratory for testing.
Many health care providers can assess patients for COVID-19 and collect samples to submit for testing. People who have concerns about their health should contact their regular health care providers, who can assess their risk and determine if they should be tested. People who don’t have insurance and have concerns they may have symptoms of COVID-19 can contact the Williamson County Health Department for consultation and to talk through potential options for assessment.
Most people, particularly those with mild or no symptoms, do not need assessment for COVID-19. Public health authorities are prioritizing testing of people in high-risk categories: contacts of confirmed cases; people in occupations with exposure to large numbers of contacts; health care workers; nursing home residents; severely immunocompromised patients; critically ill patients; pregnant women; and people who have traveled to areas with high case counts.
Anyone concerned about their health should first contact their regular health care provider. If you feel you need treatment, call the health care provider or facility first, so they can arrange for your arrival if you need to come in, and can accommodate you while reducing risk of exposing other people to illness.
There are lots of things everyone in Williamson County can do to help flatten the curve and reduce the impact of COVID-19:
- Wash your hands often with soap and water (or alcohol-based hand rub) for at least 20 seconds, especially after coughing or sneezing
- Do not touch your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands
- Stay home when you are sick
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with your arm or a tissue
- Clean and disinfect objects (e.g., cell phone, computer) and high touch surfaces regularly
Some people are at higher risk of getting very sick from this illness including older adults and people who have serious chronic medical conditions such as heart disease, diabetes or lung disease. It’s extra important for people in these groups to take actions to reduce their risk of getting sick with COVID-19:
- Take everyday precautions to keep space between yourself and others
- When you go out in public, keep away from others who are sick, limit close contact and wash your hands often
- Avoid crowds as much as possible
- Avoid cruise travel and non-essential air travel
During a COVID-19 outbreak in your community, stay home as much as possible to further reduce your risk of being exposed.
For a list of assessment sites, please visit https://www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov/remote-assessment-sites.html.For additional information, please visit www.tn.gov/governor/covid-19.html, www.tn.gov/health/cedep/ncov.html and www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV/index.html.