CONNOR MCBRIDE | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
Although the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its guidelines on COVID-19 testing, Whitman County Public Health has not.
The CDC now states it is not necessary to get tested unless recommended by a local health department or a doctor, said Troy Henderson, Whitman County Public Health director. Previously, the CDC recommended that close contacts of a COVID-19 positive individual should get tested.
Local health officials continue to recommend those who had contact with a COVID-19 positive individual get tested.
There has recently been more testing in Whitman County because more people are getting sick from COVID-19, he said. Most new cases in the last six days or so have been in the age range of 18 to 23 years, he said.
Henderson said he suspects most new patients contracted COVID-19 because they were socializing in groups exceeding 10 people and possibly not wearing masks.
Pullman Regional Hospital is working with Palouse Medical to meet the demand for COVID-19 testing, said Megan Guido, PRH chief marketing and community relations officer.
The COVID-19 testing center is located in a trailer behind PRH by the emergency department, she said. This is where doctors perform assessments on people who think they might be infected. Individuals with and without a doctor’s note can get tested.
Individuals get tested by having their nose cotton swabbed and sent to check for components of COVID-19 genetic material, Henderson said. The cost to be tested varies depending on where people get tested and their circumstances.
Guido said anyone can get COVID-19, however, more vulnerable individuals tend to be older or have a compromised immune system.
Henderson said people who contract COVID-19 need to isolate themselves for at least 10 days.
“It’s important to … know that … young people are not immune from [COVID-19] and they can be affected,” Guido said. “Some people are going to be affected worse than others.”
People can take precautions against COVID-19 by wearing a mask, social distancing and washing their hands. PRH has more COVID-19 safety information on its website.