The Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) is currently testing Johnson County residents for COVID-19. By testing a wide range of people, with and without symptoms, it’s possible to find out who in the community is infected with COVID-19 and put appropriate protective measures in place to stop transmission of the virus.
Residents with COVID-19 symptoms who are unable to get tested by their healthcare provider can now schedule a COVID-19 test through JCDHE. Drive-through testing is available by appointment only for those residents who have symptoms. Please read more about this option here.
In addition, JCDHE periodically offers drive-through testing for asymptotic and symptomatic Johnson County residents. We’ll announce future opportunities on jocogov.org as they’re scheduled.
Symptoms of COVID-19 typically appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus and usually includes: fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell. Other less common symptoms have been reported, including gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
As JCDHE identifies medical cases of coronavirus, they will conduct contact tracing to help identify who may have come in contact with an infected individual and help to ‘box in’ the disease to keep it from spreading to others.
The process begins with interviewing the person who has contracted coronavirus and asking them a series of questions to identify how they were exposed and who they may have exposed once they became sick with the virus. Once this information is obtained, the contact tracer will then reach out to those contacts and let them know they are at risk for developing an infection.
Those individuals are asked to stay at home for 14 days so that they do not infect others around them in their community.
JCDHE started contact tracing with the first confirmed case of coronavirus in March and continued throughout the stay-at-home orders. Now that Johnson County is reopening, and more people are interacting with each other, the number of cases are expected to increase. Johnson County has expanded the number of contract tracers who are making calls. JCDHE has trained staff and volunteers, including school nurses and local college students studying medicine and/or public health, to assist with contact tracing. All information shared with the contact tracer is confidential and protected under HIPPA. The person who is infected is not identified.
The first case of COVID-19 in Johnson County was identified on March 7, 2020. Initially, the first cases were travel-related, and the Johnson County Department of Health and Environment (JCDHE) tested people and conducted contact tracing.
Since then, Johnson County has experienced community transmission, meaning the virus is being transmitted from person to person in the county.
Due to limited resources when they determined the virus was spreading in the community, JCDHE prioritized laboratory testing for high risk, hospitalized people.
On March 30, the Johnson County Board of County Commissioners authorized a program for more COVID-19 testing in an amount not to exceed $400,000. The funding comes from the county’s general fund reserves to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, if allowable.
JCDHE began by surveying residents and conducted testing on a representative sample of county residents to assess how widespread the virus was in the community.
In April, JCDHE began testing certain populations at higher risk for contracting COVID-19, including essential workers and residents and workers at long-term care facilities. First responders were tested through St. Luke’s Hospital. JCDHE also scheduled testing opportunities for persons experiencing homelessness and people who are primarily Spanish speaking.