QUESTIONS:

 

Testing and Antibody Testing

Q: Do we have Antibody testing in Washoe County?

Q: Will Antibody testing be available for everyone?

Q: When is antibody testing coming to northern Nevada?

Q: Can I order an antibody test?

Q: How is antibody testing done?

Q: What is the Nevada State Public Health Lab’s (NSPHL) role in COVID-19 testing in Nevada?

Q: How is the Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL) addressing the shortage of collection kits, or testing kits in Nevada?

Q: Who will be tested for the virus?

Q: I have no symptoms. Can I still get a test?

Q: I did a screening on the phone line. Why haven’t I gotten a call back?

 

Treatment and Recovery

Q: When is someone considered recovered from COVID-19?

Q: Is the antimalarial drug an effective treatment for COVID-19?

Q: Can you get COVID-19 twice?

Washoe County

Q: Is staying home and social distancing making a difference in Washoe County? Is our curve flattening?

Q: How many healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 in Washoe County?

Q: Does Washoe County have enough ventilators for the surge?

 

Business

Q: I’m a part of the business community. How can I learn more about what’s going on?

Q: The business I work for is considered essential and is still open, but I’m concerned they are not requiring or exercising the recommended social distance guidelines and I don’t feel safe here. Who can I report that to?

Q: Who can I call if I see a non-essential business till operating?

Q: Where can I get a letter so that I can go back to work?

 

Donations

Q: Where can I donate to support local organizations?

Q: How can we get meals to essential workers like paramedics, firefighters, police officers, urgent care providers and animal welfare workers?

Q: Where can I donate homemade masks?

 

PPE

Q: Do our local healthcare workers and first responders have enough protective equipment to stay safe?

 

Homeowners and Renters

Q: Where can I get information about mortgage or rent relief related to COVID-19?

 

 

 

 

ANSWERS:

 

Testing and Antibody Testing

        

Q: Do we have Antibody testing in Washoe County?

A: Not yet. The Nevada State Public Health Lab is in the process of developing Antibody testing capacity. The Lab will announce its availability to the public through the media, when it is available.

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Q: Will Antibody testing be available for everyone?

A: Specific details about Antibody Testing are still being developed and will be released when they are finalized. We are working with the Governor’s Office, the State of Nevada, the Nevada State Public Health Lab and community partners to make sure the testing is accurate and that it is   available as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.

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Q: When is antibody testing coming to northern Nevada?

A: The Nevada State Public Health Laboratory (NSPHL) anticipates antibody testing to start in late April with limited testing in the first two weeks. The NSPHL will use its initial tests to first evaluate or “validate” the accuracy of the test, prior to any medical or public health use of the tests. After antibody testing accuracy has been determined, availability will increase gradually in the following weeks.

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Q: Can I order an antibody test?

A: Just like with a COVID-19 test, patients will need to contact their doctor or clinician for an antibody test. Doctors and clinicians will determine who gets tested, where patients can get tested and how the tests will be administered.

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Q: How is antibody testing done?

A: Antibody tests are administered two ways: Point-of-Care Rapid Diagnostic Tests, which involve a finger prick of blood. Lab-based Tests, which involve a clinician drawing blood from the arm and sending to the NSPHL or another public health lab for diagnostic testing.

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Q: What is the Nevada State Public Health Lab’s (NSPHL) role in COVID-19 testing in Nevada?

A: COVID-19 testing is provided by both public health labs and private labs. The NSPHL at the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine (UNR Med) serves the entire state providing an array of testing services including infectious disease testing, both for doctors to treat patients, and for purposes of outbreak management, such as COVID-19.

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Q: How is the Nevada State Public Health Lab (NSPHL) addressing the shortage of collection kits, or testing kits in Nevada?

A: The NSPHL is now manufacturing and distributing anywhere from 500 to 1,300 specimen collection kits for COVID-19 testing, per day. Most days NSPHL manufactures an average of 1,000 of specimen collection kits for COVID-19 testing. A quality control process is in place to ensure high quality, accurate testing. The specimen collection kits manufactured at the NSPHL are distributed to health districts and hospitals that request them. In turn, the NSPHL performs the COVID-19 tests received from the health districts and clinicians focusing on testing symptomatic people and people in contact with confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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Q: Who will be tested for the virus?

A: Washoe County Health District is prioritizing tests for our vulnerable population who meet specific criteria including showing symptoms of fever and cough, domestic or international travel within the last 14 days or close contact with a person either suspected of having or confirmed with COVID-19. If you fit one of these criteria, please call 775-328-2427.

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Q: I have no symptoms. Can I still get a test?

A: Washoe County Health District is prioritizing tests for our vulnerable population who meet specific criteria including showing symptoms of fever and cough, domestic or international travel within the last 14 days or close contact with a person either suspected of having or confirmed with COVID-19. If you fit one of these criteria, please call 775-328-2427.

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Q: I did a screening on the phone line. Why haven’t I gotten a call back?

A: Based on response to the telephone screening questions, Washoe County’s epidemiology team determines prioritization for testing based on a risk assessment algorithm. For people at a lower risk, it may take longer for officials to get back to you, if at all. For higher risk individuals, a representative from the Washoe County Health District will reach out to schedule a date and time to collect a specimen. Please note that if you are awaiting communication from Washoe County Health District, be sure to answer your phone even if it shows as a Unknown Caller.

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Treatment and Recovery

        

Q: When is someone considered recovered from COVID-19?

A: We follow a non-test-based strategy set forth by the State of Nevada. We consider someone recovered from COVID-19 when they are fever-free for three days without the use of fever-reducing medication, see an improvement in respiratory symptoms and are at least seven days from the initial onset of symptoms.

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Q: Is the antimalarial drug an effective treatment for COVID-19?

A: Research is being done but overall, there are inconsistent findings as to its effectiveness.

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Q: Can you get COVID-19 twice?

A: Public health officials and physicians generally agree that we just don’t know the answer to this question yet. Some patients continue to test positive for the virus for a while after their symptoms have gone away. In addition, a person can be asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms but is nonetheless infected. A person may develop some level of immunity after they get the infection but after time, immunity may decrease which could leave them vulnerable to contracting the virus again in the future. Since this is unknown, the safest course of action is to practice social distancing, wash your hands and stay home.

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Washoe County

        

Q: Is staying home and social distancing making a difference in Washoe County? Is our curve flattening?

A: As of April 15, Washoe County’s curve is still trending upward, but not as steeply.

Many public health professionals measure how well social distancing and other factors are contributing to the flattening of the curve by the amount of days between case counts doubling. The longer the time, the better. The shorter the time frame, the steeper the curve and the faster the growth.

In Washoe County:

64 cases on March 26

128 cases on March 31

256 cases on April 5

517 cases on April 14

As you can see, the doubling from 64-128 took five days, whereas the doubling from 256-512 took 9 days. That’s good news.

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Q: How many healthcare workers have contracted COVID-19 in Washoe County?

A: We are not reporting COVID-19-related patient information regarding employer or employment sector at this time.

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Q: Does Washoe County have enough ventilators for the surge?

A: Hospital data, including ventilators, is reported to the Governor’s office and other state healthcare officials to be provided to the public. This ensures the information is reported on a timely, consistent basis and with the proper context.

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Business

        

Q: I’m a part of the business community. How can I learn more about what’s going on?

A: Northern Nevada has a strong sense of community – especially among the business sector. Consider becoming a member of WIN, the Reno-Sparks Chamber of Commerce or an industry-specific professional association and follow those organizations on social media to stay informed about new initiatives and ways to support. Plus, you can stay up to date by signing up for the Regional Information Center’s daily briefings and following them on Twitter

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Q: The business I work for is considered essential and is still open, but I’m concerned they are not requiring or exercising the recommended social distance guidelines and I don’t feel safe here. Who can I report that to?

A: The Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) is the designated agency that addresses concerns with workplace safety. Local jurisdictions are not enforcing social distancing or recommended safety guidelines. Visit OSHA online or call the local office at 775-688-3700.

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Q: Who can I call if I see a non-essential business till operating?

A: Washoe County and the cities of Reno and Sparks have collectively received more than 350 complaints regarding non-essential businesses remaining open despite Governor Sisolak’s directive to close. Each entities’ compliance staff are investigating the reports and giving initial courtesy notices and informational guidance packets to non-compliant businesses as covered in the COVID-19 Business Operations Supplemental Guide. If businesses still refuse to close, law enforcement will be notified, which may result in citations, fines, and possible revocation of business licenses. To date, no citations have been issued and we want to thank the business community for its cooperation and leadership during this unprecedented time. As a reminder, non-essential closures have been extended until at least April 30, per the Governor. For business questions or to report non-compliant businesses, please contact Reno Direct at 775-334-INFO (4636) or RenoDirect@Reno.gov City of Sparks: 775-353-5555 or business@cityofsparks.us Washoe County: Dial 3-1-1 or 775-328-2003 Washoe311@washoecounty.us 

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Q: Where can I get a letter so that I can go back to work?

A: The Washoe County Health District and area hospitals are not currently providing letters indicating an individual’s health status. We strongly discourage employers from placing this stipulation on employees. 

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Donations

        

Q: Where can I donate to support local organizations?

A: The United Way and The Community Foundation of Western Nevada are both accepting cash donations to support local individuals, businesses and non-profits. If you are interested in donating directly to an organization, we encourage you to contact them directly.

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Q: How can we get meals to essential workers like paramedics, firefighters, police officers, urgent care providers and animal welfare workers?

A: You are welcome to reach out directly to any agency to understand their needs and guidelines. Feed Our Heroes accepts donations to purchase meals from participating restaurants that are then given – free of charge – to healthcare providers and first responders.

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Q: Where can I donate homemade masks?

A: The Regional Information Center appreciates the many individuals, groups and businesses from the community who have generously offered to assist in our preparedness efforts by sewing cloth masks. Many of our community’s essential workers would appreciate your donation, and recommend that you contact one of those organizations directly to determine their needs and coordinate donation arrangements.

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PPE

        

Q: Do our local healthcare workers and first responders have enough protective equipment to stay safe?

A: While the State of Nevada has requested additional PPE, we are still limited with what we have received from FEMA. However, many private companies in Washoe County are helping area healthcare providers acquire these products. The demand is great and exceeds the supply so if there is a way for you to assist, please contact area hospitals or EMS providers or learn more here. Regarding reuse, local hospitals and first responders are committed to patient and provider safety as well as practicing conservation by following the CDC’s recommendations given the limited resources.

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Homeowners and Renters

        

Q: Where can I get information about mortgage or rent relief related to COVID-19?

A: You must reach out to your lender or landlord directly for assistance or relief. The State of Nevada has compiled a list of lenders. You can find it and additional information here.

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