Reno, Nev. March 4, 2020. The Washoe County Health District (WCHD) is advising the general public to use caution with the new guidelines for testing COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which expands testing criteria to include a wider group of people.
However, WCHD asks that residents do not visit a medical provider looking to get a test for COVID-19. Residents with symptoms of fever, cough and difficulty breathing are encouraged to call their medical provider for guidance or use a telemedicine option if it is available. If residents do not have any symptoms, it is asked that they not contact their medical provider.
There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Washoe County.
“We believe the new CDC guidelines could overburden our local healthcare facilities and we urge residents to only contact your medical professional if it is a serious situation,” said Kevin Dick, District Health Officer for the Washoe County Health District.
The Health District and medical providers in Washoe County have the most concern for residents who:
Traveled to areas that have widespread/sustained community transmission such as China, Italy, South Korea, Iran and Japan (See CDC list here)
Have had direct contact with someone who has been suspected or confirmed to have COVID-19
Have had severe illness requiring hospitalization for a viral respiratory disease that has no other known cause
The Health District has a webpage dedicated to COVID-19 – www.washoecounty.us/covid19.
“Our healthcare facilities are being inundated with calls and patients arriving at their locations unannounced,” Dick said. “This puts healthcare workers at unnecessary risk of contracting a communicable disease, and is disruptive of the providers ability to provide care to others in need.”
The local and state health authorities are meeting this afternoon to decide how to expedite testing and work with those who are symptomatic in an organized and efficient manner. We will be disseminating information and guidance through a variety of mechanisms in the near future. Go to our website for the latest updates.
Please see updated information for people who suspect they might have COVID-19 as well as information for medical professionals provided by the CDC. To speak to someone about COVID-19, call Washoe 311 by dialing 3-1-1. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 9-1-1.
The Washoe County Health District is nationally accredited by the Public Health Accreditation Board and has jurisdiction over all public health matters in Reno, Sparks, and Washoe County through the policy-making Washoe County District Board of Health. The District consists of five divisions: Administrative Health Services, Air Quality Management, Community and Clinical Health Services, Environmental Health Services and Epidemiology & Public Health Preparedness. More info can be found here.