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Elko County patients tested for coronavirus, awaiting results
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Elko County patients tested for coronavirus, awaiting results

From the The latest developments on the coronavirus in the Elko area and beyond series
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ELKO – At least two patients in Elko County have been tested for coronavirus but the results are unknown.

As of 3 p.m. Monday there were no confirmed cases in Elko, according to Elko County Health Officer Bryce Putnam.

“We have not gotten our first batch of results yet,” Putnam told the Elko Daily Free Press. If a patient is confirmed by the state to test positive for the virus, the patient would be told and then the county health officer would be informed.

Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital confirmed that one patient had been tested and was in self-quarantine Monday. The patient’s condition is being monitored pending test results.

Putnam said more than one person has been tested in Elko County but he did not have a total. Nevada Health Centers said it has not tested any patients in Elko for the virus.

The Nevada Department of Health and Human services is posting coronavirus updates on its website but the last update was six days ago – before any of the state’s four presumed positive cases were made public. Two are in the Las Vegas area and two in the Reno area.

Putnam said it takes about five days to receive test results.

Anyone who suspects they have the virus should call their health care provider, he said. Medical facilities and medical professionals have protocols for the handling of suspected cases.

The general population should “stay calm and go about your daily business,” Putnam said. Everyone should wash their hands frequently and not touch their face.

“If you are sick, stay home,” he said.

According to Dr. Mark Pandori, director of the Nevada State Public Health Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, test kits are being processed at the rate of about 100 a day.

The Nevada Independent interviewed Pandori for an article published Monday.

“So if someone in Elko gets sick, you can swab them there and then have a courier bring it to the university here in Reno to test?” asked the writer, Joey Lovato.

“When it hits the lab lobby here, it would get checked in, and I would say three to four hours later we would have a test result,” Pandori replied.

Medical facilities including Northeastern Nevada Regional Hospital have been preparing for the potential arrival of the virus.

“We are working closely with the state health department and following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to ensure our hospital is prepared with the appropriate plans to detect, protect and respond should anyone in our community contract or be exposed to the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV),” NNRH said in a Feb. 10 statement.

The death toll from the virus in the United States was 26 as of Monday afternoon, with 650 confirmed cases.

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