The City reported late on Monday that the Department of Public Health (DPH) had updated the COVID-19 case-count for Everett, and the number is now up to 29 confirmed cases.
It’s a shocking number considering there were less than 10 on Friday, but it is a number that is much lower than surrounding communities and a number that is expected to grow as the COVID-19 virus spreads.
“At the moment, there are 29 confirmed cases,” said Public Health Nurse Sabrina Firicano on Monday evening. “I think more people are getting tested. If they have been exposed or know someone that tested positive. We had a big jump because of that and right now surrounding cities have higher numbers than we do. We may be a little behind with people reporting symptoms or calling their doctors. I think we’ll start to see an increase in the next week or two. Right now, we can’t stress social distancing enough and staying home as much as possible. To slow down the spread and flatten the curve, we need the people to social distance.”
To help monitor the increased numbers of patients remotely, and to be able to connect with them quicker, Firicano has brought in the School Nurses to help with outreach.
“Obviously with the increasing caseload, we have the availability of our school nurses,” she said. “I was able to pull them in for help with follow-ups so we can speed up the initiating contact with those who are positive. They are public health nurses too and can do what I was doing. They can monitor them too so we can reach the cases quickly. The faster we can outreach with them, the faster we can advise them to stay inside and not to go out unless it’s to the hospital for medical care. That will help to stop the spread.”
Those who do get it typically get tested in a hospital or testing facility at a health center, then are sent home unless they have severe health issues. For most people who are younger and have no underlying health issues, they will recover at home without having to go to a hospital or be on a ventilator.
“It’s more the vulnerable populations that are hospitalized because they have underlying conditions that makes their immune systems compromised,” she said. “Most people just need to stay home and monitor their symptoms, stay hydrated and they will fully recover.”
She said people should take Tylenol for a fever and pain, make sure their symptoms don’t worsen quickly and get plenty of rest. There is no official treatment for COVID-19 right now.
One thing that has routinely come up early in public online meetings, and chat rooms, has been the desire of the healthy people to know who the sick people are. There have been questions asking for addresses, names and locations of those who are positive for COVID-19, but doing so is not only unwise, but also against the law, Firicano said.
“The only groups that receive the addresses are first responders to protect them if they have to respond,” she said. “The information gets directed through the chiefs so they know what addresses are affected for the safety of the first responders. We can only give addresses. We don’t give patient names. It’s all protected under HIPAA laws. We can’t give away patient information to anyone.”
Firicano said there is no need to know as patients are isolated in their homes once they are positive. She said patients aren’t typically going around the community when they are sick.