Local health officials met in a videoconference Friday to answer questions and provide updates on their response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton confirmed there are eight cases of the coronavirus in Monroe County, and the health department is preparing for a surge of cases. There are at least 981 cases of the coronavirus in Indiana and more than 100,000 people infected in the United States. Here are three things to know from the videoconference.
COVID-19 testing now available locally
IU Health South Central Region President Brian Shockney said IU Health is now in the third phase of testing for COVID-19 with testing available through local health care providers. Phase one was when tests were done at the state level and phase two was when testing became available in Indianapolis.
Shockney said IU Health is expanding the number of beds it has available by canceling nonessential surgeries and converting the sleep study department to allow for patients.
What to do if you think you have the virus
If someone suspects he or she may have the coronavirus, Shockney said he or she should go to IU Health's virtual hub, an online screening service for the coronavirus. Once the patients have been screened they may be directed to visit the yellow tent outside of IU Health Bloomington Hospital to be tested if their symptoms suggest they may have the virus.
The other option for being tested is to go to the emergency department of the IU Health Bloomington Hospital where screening and testing can be done in-person , Shockney said.He said people may be directed to go to the yellow tent outside the hospital to be tested.
Once patients are tested, they may wait for the results in the emergency department if their symptoms are severe enough or they may return to their residence where it is recommended they practice social distancing.
How people are helping
Restaurants are helping by donating food for the health care employees, Shockney said. He said the hospitals have closed some internal food options such as salad bars because of safety concerns.
He said community groups are also helping by donating protective face masks. He said face masks are the hospitals’ most-needed resource.People can donate by bringing supplies to an IU Health hospital.