CDC COVID-19 illustration

A RENDERING created by the Centers for Disease Control shows the ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. Note the spikes that adorn the outer surface of the virus, which impart the look of a corona surrounding the virion, when viewed electron microscopically. A novel coronavirus, named Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), was identified as the cause of an outbreak of respiratory illness first detected in Wuhan, China in 2019. The illness caused by this virus has been named coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The COVID-19 patient count increases to 23 according to the latest report from the Christian County Health Department concerning the novel coronavirus.

The health department issued a statement just after noon May 22, confirming the 23rd overall case of COVID-19 documented in Christian County since the middle of March. The newest case is classified as “probable” under a system that health departments in Springfield and the surrounding areas are using to report statistics to the public.

There is no risk of exposure to the public related to this newly reported probable case. The patient recently tested positive on an antibody test, but has not been symptomatic for several months,” the statement from the Christian County Health Department reads.

Springfield-Greene County Health Department Director Clay Goddard explained the differences between lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases and cases classified as “probable,” at a briefing in Springfield May 19.

Twenty of Christian County’s cases as confirmed, which means the patients underwent testing with nasal swabs, called a PCR test, and had the presence of viral RNA detected through genetic testing.

“If a person tests positive, this means they are currently infected with COVID-19,” Goddard said.

Antibody testing is a blood or serology test occurs when lab technicians look for antibodies in a person’s blood that form as part of an immune system response to viruses.

“Many companies are offering antibody testing, including some locally. These two tests are not apples-to-apples comparisons. A PCR test tells us you have COVID-19. An antibody test tells us that you may have had COVID-19 at some point, maybe,” Goddard said.

Three of Christian County’s cases are classified as probable due to antibody testing.

In light of an upcoming holiday weekend, the Christian County Health Department encouraged everyone to take precautions to reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 spreading through the community.

“As we approach the Memorial Day weekend the Christian County Health Department would like to remind the community that COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes,” the statement reads. “It spreads between people who are in close contact with one another. The health department encourages all citizens within the community to do their part and take necessary steps to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Precautions include:

-Wear a face mask or other covering in public settings where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.

-Put distance, at least 6 feet, between yourself and others.

-Limit your risk by reducing the number of places you go and the number of times you come into close contact with other people.

-Avoid gathering in groups.

-Stay away from crowded places or mass gatherings.

-Practice good hand washing, using soap and warm water and washing for at least 20 seconds each time.

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