Earlier this week, we asked readers what questions they had regarding COVID-19, also known as the coronavirus, in Milwaukee. Questions ranged from testing to volunteer opportunities to senior care. While new information is being released daily, here are some answers to your questions.
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1. Where can I get tested, especially if I don’t have insurance?
Sarah Francois, director of fund development and marketing for Progressive Community Health Centers, said if someone is displaying symptoms, he or she will be tested regardless on whether the person is insured.
Individuals experiencing symptoms are encouraged to call the hotline at 866-443-2584. A thorough screening process before the test is issued to rule out other possibilities such as the flu.
Currently, the Progressive Community Health Centers does not offer coronavirus testing.
However, other federally qualified health centers such as Outreach Community Health Services and the Gerald L. Ignace Health Center offer testing. Dr. Anthony Linn, the medical director at Outreach, said that Outreach receives about 10 testing kits a day from suppliers.
If an individual is displaying symptoms, he or she is encouraged to call the clinic ahead of time.
Linn said Outreach will screen and test people in their cars to minimize exposure to other patients and employees. The test is performed by sticking a long and narrow swab up the patients nose and swirling it around. The swab is placed in a test tube and sent to the lab to be analyzed. Outreach typically receives the results in 48 hours. If the test is positive, it is reported to the Milwaukee Health Department.
2. What’s the first thing to do if I have symptoms? When or should I go a hospital?
If an individual is experiencing symptoms, he or she should call the coronavirus hotline at 866-443-2584. During a news conference, Jeanette Kowalik, health commissioner for the City of Milwaukee, said that individuals should call their primary provider or go to urgent care.
To minimize the spread of the disease, individuals are encouraged to practice good hygiene by washing their hands for at least 20 seconds and covering their mouths when coughing or sneezing.
3. Why has there not been a recommendation by the Centers for Disease Control for the use of N95 respirators to prevent the spread of the virus?
Linn said to visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website to see the most recent updates. Although he cannot speak for the CDC, he said that N95 respirator masks are being used if someone is in critical condition.
4. Any accurate information on testing sites?
Dr. Sanjib Bhattacharyya, the laboratory director for the City of Milwaukee, said there have been discussions on potentially creating testing sites. The health department is in conversation with Dr. Ben Weston, the medial director for the Milwaukee County Emergency Medical Services, to see if that is a possibility. More information regarding testing sites is expected in the days to come.
COVID-19 in Milwaukee:
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