Jackson County Health Department urges COVID testing and vaccination

Suzette Lowe

With progress being made in the COVID-19 health crisis, the Jackson County Health Department stresses the continued importance of testing and vaccinations.

According to Administrator Amy Haskins, the symptoms that most people dismiss as being allergy-related are, in fact, COVID-19.

“We’re not saying all these symptoms prove to be COVID,” Haskins said. “Unfortunately, many of them do. These include sinus congestion, scratchy throat, headaches, achiness, runny nose. Loss of taste or smell indicates that you may have had it for several days.”

Haskins urges anyone with these symptoms to get tested at one of the sites in the county (see below). Anyone who thinks they have been exposed should wait five days from the day of exposure to test.

Continuing to follow state guidelines and health protocols is also extremely important said Haskins.

“COVID-19 has not disappeared,” she said. “We are seeing an uptick in cases in the county. They are mostly part of identifiable groups and not community spread, but the concern is still there.”

Guidelines and protocols include wearing masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing.

Haskins said she understands that many people are tired of the masks and do not have the sense of urgency they once had regarding the pandemic.

“If you’ve been blessed not to have lost anyone to this disease or seen someone suffer through it,” she said, “please remember that others have endured great loss. We need to do all we can to not spread this any further. Have consideration for those around you.”

Vaccination is one other key element.

The health department has shifted its focus from testing to hosting vaccination clinics. A number of those events have occurred at the National Guard Armory in Millwood, using the Moderna vaccine. Currently, the department does not have Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson.

The governor has opened up vaccination registration to those over the age of 16. The state registry list for Jackson County is close to being completely addressed.

Emergency Preparedness Coordinator Wendy Staats said that anyone who wants the vaccine should now call the health department directly.

“We will continue to give priority to the protocol set by the state for ages 40 and above,” said Staats. “We will also go beyond that as doses are available. Call us and get on the list and we’ll get you vaccinated as soon as possible. You do have to be 18 or older to receive Moderna.”

Staats worked with county organizations to develop a threat preparedness plan over 20 years ago. That plan, with some slight adjustment, is the one being followed today.

“That’s why things go so smoothly,” said Haskins. “There was a plan from the very beginning.”

Both Staats and Haskins stress the importance of one more factor in the ability of the health department to tackle this health crisis.

“Volunteers make our efforts possible,” said Haskins. “Our community partners have provided help and we also have many volunteers not associated with any organization. Because of them, there are no long waiting lines and people leave impressed with the whole process. We also listen to our volunteers and take their advice on how to make things go even more smoothly.”

For information on upcoming vaccination clinics, call the health department at 304-372-2634.

COVID-19 testing sites

Call for appointment:

  • Coplin Health Services: Ripley, 304-372-1033; Ravenswood, 304-273-1033.
  • Jackson General Care Clinic: Fruth Pharmacy, 304-786-1155; Walmart, 304-372-1050.
  • Ohio Valley Physicians, Ravenswood, 304-868-6000.

Appointments online:

  • Fruth Pharmacy, www.fruthpharmacy.com.
  • Walgreens, www.walgreens.com.