WESTFIELD, NJ — If I test positive for the coronavirus, COVID-19, do I need to call someone? What happens if I was near someone at the store who has the virus?
Here is how cases of the coronavirus are handled locally, according to the Westfield Health Department:
If I test positive for COVID-19, do I need to self-report?
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, even though timing may be that a patient receives notification the department does. It is important to remember that the health department needs to confirm results on their end before an investigation begins.
What happens after a case is confirmed?
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.
What is considered “close contact?”
A close contact is defined as anyone who has been less than six feet apart from the case for more than 10 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.
What if I was near someone with COVID-19 at the store?
While concern about exposure from visiting supermarkets and other locations where social distancing remains difficult is understandable, it is important to remember that the most effective transmission takes place during prolonged close contact and not casual interaction.
It is also important to remember not to leave your house if you do not feel well, even if you do not have a fever.
How can I tell if I have the coronavirus?
Residents can use the state’s self-assessment tool at self.covid19.nj.gov to learn if they should contact their primary care physician to get an appointment for a test.
If your symptoms are consistent with COVID-19, contact your health care provider by phone. Your doctor can make an appointment for you to be tested at the new drive-through testing facility at Kean University.