The Chester Township Council, OEM, First Responders, and Administration are working closely with the Board of Health, Health Department and emergency preparedness officials at the federal, state and local levels to closely monitor the COVID-19 situation and provide updates accordingly.
Our first responders and health officials are participating in the ongoing conferences with the county and state officials and are monitoring CDC and state guidelines. They are prepared to handle any potential COVID-19 (novel Coronavirus) case in accordance with those guidelines.
It is the responsibility of the local Health Department to first review and confirm all test results. Residents do not need to self-report, as the Health Department follows up on each result received. It is important to remember that we need to confirm results on our end before an investigation begins.
Once the Health Department receives a positive COVID-19 result through their electronic system, an interview of the positive case is then conducted to obtain information on demographics, signs, symptoms and possible exposure sources (for example work, travel, exposure to another confirmed COVID 19 case). The resident is then provided guidance on social distancing and other infection control measures. The resident is also given the opportunity to ask any questions they may have and to add anything they feel is important about their particular case.
Once the interview is complete, the Health Department focuses on any close contacts the confirmed case had. A close contact is defined as anyone who has been less than six feet apart from the case for more than ten minutes. It is not defined as brief casual contact. Close contacts are notified and provided information for quarantine, with an emphasis placed on those contacts who are high risk. An example of a high risk contact would be someone who has a co-morbidity, is an elder adult, or someone who is a health care worker.
Public release of identifying information is not a recognized public health measure for control of COVID-19. Such data is used internally by public health officials in our county for epidemiological surveillance and planning purposes. Beyond said internal use, the public releases appear to be the result of various pressures (including media and residents) for misguided reasons and/or to satisfy those who are inquisitive under the guise of the need for greater transparency. Our office will continue to protect information in accordance with applicable regulations and in the same manner we would want our own individual information protected.