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Update from Polk County Meals on Wheels program

The Polk County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) was notified that a Meals on Wheels (MOW) team member has been identified as a close contact to a positive Covid-19 case. MOW is operated by the Senior Services Division of the Polk County HHSA. Current safety protocols mitigate interaction between team members and clients. It has been determined that the protocols were followed at this time and minimal risk has been determined.

“When the public health team for the county conducts our positive case investigations, we routinely inquire about close contacts. A close contact is defined as anyone the positive patient has been within 6 feet of for more than 15 minutes or has had contact with body excretions. Anyone meeting these criteria are considered close contacts and issued the CDC guidance to self-quarantine for 14-days to prevent any further spread of the virus.” – Joshua Kennedy, Polk County Health and Human Services Agency Director.

According to the CDC, the risk of getting Covid-19 from food you cook yourself or from handling and consuming food from restaurants and takeout or drive-thru meals is thought to be very low. Currently, there is no evidence that food is associated with spreading the virus that causes Covid-19. Further, the risk of infection by the virus from food products, food packaging or bags is thought to be very low.

“While the risk of spread is low due to the safety protocols of the program, it was out of an abundance of caution that the Senior Services Division for the Polk HHSA reached out to the Meals on Wheels Program team members to let them know a fellow team member is quarantining and that safety protocols had been followed. While we have determined there was not a direct exposure at this time, the Senior Services staff are following their sanitizing protocols and will conduct a deep cleaning process immediately.” – Haley Suskauer, Public Health Program Manager.

Due to the level of community transmission in North Carolina and across the nation community members are encouraged to follow the three W’s: Wait 6 feet apart, Wear of face covering when in public spaces, Wash your hands regularly or use hand sanitizer.

As a reminder, those with Covid-19 may experience a variety of symptoms (listed below) or may be completely symptom free, but in either situation it is possible to spread the virus to others. Anyone experiencing symptoms of Covid-19 or believes they may have been exposed are encouraged to get tested to help prevent the spread of the disease. Tests are now available from several vendors for at-home testing often with no upfront cost for those who are uninsured or insured, your current healthcare provider, or through the Polk County Covid-19 Testing drive-thru that occurs weekly by calling 828-722-5086.

The CDC indicates people with Covid-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have Covid-19:

  • Fever or chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update this list as we learn more about Covid-19.

For more information about the coronavirus and to read the latest guidance on keeping yourself and others safe and where to get tested, visit the www.polknc.org, www.ncdhhs.gov, https://covid19.ncdhhs.gov/about-covid-19/testing/covid-19-testinglocations or call the Polk County Message Line 828-722-5086.

Submitted by Josh Kennedy