COVID-19 Senior Day: FAQs Answered

Sharon Grundy, M.D. is both the Medical Director of Primary Care at the Telluride Regional Medical Center and the San Miguel County Medical Officer. Below she answers FAQs about Senior Day and more.

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Frequently Asked Questions about the local response to coronavirus.

If you still have questions or need assistance, visit the County’s COVID-19 Response site or call their hotline for non-medical questions: 970-728-3844.

If you have a medical question, or need non-urgent health care, call the medical center: 970.728.3848.

If you have a question Sharon Grundy has not answered, send your question here, and she will do her best to answer and add that response to this post on tellmed.org/coronavirus.

Dr. Sharon Grundy

On Saturday, March 28, the San Miguel County Department of Public Health and Environment will commence Phase 2 of their initiative to offer the COVID-19 ELISA antibody test to county residents.

The first group to be seen on Saturday will be seniors: people over 60 years of age, living in East County.

What is East County? East County is the Telluride Fire Protection District including Telluride, Mountain Village, Ophir, Sawpit, Placerville, Wilson Mesa, Hastings Mesa, Iron Springs Mesa and west on Highway 145 to mm 90 and east on Highway 62 to mm 13, (top of Dallas Divide).

Why seniors first? While everyone is at risk for contracting coronavirus, the health implications for people aged 60+ are the most severe. Allowing seniors to be tested first, and to do so away from the general population, is a precaution aimed to protect, as best we can, our most vulnerable residents.

Why are seniors more vulnerable? This is due to normal aging of the immune system, but also underlying conditions that make seniors more vulnerable to respiratory illnesses.

What about seniors living in the West End of San Miguel County? Next week the county will announce a West End testing location and schedule, seniors living in the West End likewise be tested at a separate time from the general population.

What is the schedule for East County Senior Day?

Saturday, 9am – 10:30am: Residents age 60+ living in east Telluride, from the east side of Pine Street to Bridal Veil (Pandora Mill) in Telluride.

Saturday, 10:30am – Noon: Residents age 60+ living on the west side of Pine Street to Society Roundabout.

Saturday Noon to 4pm: Residents age 60+ living west of the Society roundabout and within the R1 School District. In other words: The rest of East County, including Mountain Village, Ophir, Sawpit, Placerville, Wilson Mesa, Hastings Mesa, Iron Springs Mesa and west on Highway 145 to mm 90 and east on Highway 62 to mm 13, (top of Dallas Divide).

Where is the testing site for East County Residents? Telluride Intermediate School, 717 West Colorado Avenue in Telluride.

What is the Telluride R1 School District? The School District includes everyone living in the following zip codes: 81435 (Telluride, Mountain Village, Lawson etc.); 81430 (Sawpit, Placerville, Hastings Mesa etc.); and 81426 (Ophir and surrounding area).

Can I pre-register for testing online? Yes, every resident interested in participating in the free COVID-19 ELISA blood-draw testing in east San Miguel County should do the following:

–Register for CodeRED alerts if you have not already.

–Pre-register online for the blood test at c19SMC.com

What if I cannot or did not pre-register online? Don’t worry! If you are unable to pre-register, on-site volunteers on site will direct you how to register using your cellphone. Or, on-site volunteers will assist you with filling out paper registration forms.

How does the antibody blood test work? On the day of your test, participants will provide a blood sample to be tested in a lab for COVID-19 antibodies. You will be asked to return in approximately two weeks for a second blood test.

Once at the site, a trained, volunteer health care provider will be dressed in personal protective equipment, including gloves, mask and gown. The provider will conduct what’s called a venipuncture, which is the collection of blood from a vein.

What is the venipuncture process?

–The selected site, usually the inside of your elbow or the back of your hand, is cleaned by a health care provider

— An elastic bank is placed around your upper arm to apply pressure and prepare your vein

–A small needle is inserted into your vein. (You may feel a poke, but this is a relatively painless procedure)

–Your blood collects into an airtight vial

— The elastic band is removed from your arm

— The needle is taken out, a bandage is applied

Why must I return for a second blood test? As a participant, it is essential you return for the second test for public health officials to gauge if infection is increasing or decreasing in our county.

Two rounds of blood samples collected to detect COVID-19 antibodies can help determine who may be protected against the virus and who may still be at risk.

What if I miss Senior Day? If a senior living in East County can’t make it or misses “Senior Day,” on Saturday, they can still join the rest of their neighbors during their designated time slot. (Full schedule here)

How will I be notified about my COVID-19 antibody blood test results? When you register, you will be assigned a number. Please save your number so that we may accurately process and issue your results.

You will not receive notification for this first test result unless you test positive for antibodies, in which case San Miguel County Department of Public Health will contact you with details and instruction.

You will be contacted with the results of your second blood test once those results have been returned to the San Miguel County Department of Public Health.

How can I reduce my chances of contracting coronavirus? The best advice for limited the spread and reducing your chances of contracting coronavirus are still the good hygiene tips we’ve been talking about for weeks:

–Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing; going to the bathroom; and before eating or preparing food.

— Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

–Stay home when you are sick.

–Maintain the “Shelter in Place” Order and practice social distancing.

— Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Why should I volunteer to take the COVID-19 ELISA blood test? The goal is to detect and contain community spread and provide a more accurate assessment of the disease’s prevalence in our county.

Why are East County residents seniors being tested first? The highest concentrated population centers of the county will be tested first and then the testing will be offered to all other communities within the county.

 

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