LAWRENCE – Of 8,559 Douglas County residents who responded to a recent population survey, 167 of them reported they were currently experiencing two or more symptoms consistent with COVID-19 that began within the last two weeks of April. These respondents lived in all parts of the county – Baldwin City, Eudora, Lawrence, Lecompton and unincorporated Douglas County.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health conducted the second wave of the population survey from April 28 to May 1. It asked residents to note if they were experiencing two or more symptoms related to COVID-19 — a list the CDC expanded since the first population survey.
The symptoms list in the survey included: fever, dry cough, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain or muscle ache, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, abdominal pain, loss of taste or smell, nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, fatigue, runny nose, rash, shortness of breath and pain or pressure in the chest. Also in the survey, 46 respondents reported they were still experiencing at least two COVID-19 symptoms that began earlier in April.
“With a number of people still reporting they are symptomatic in our community, it’s important for people to follow the recommendations to stay at home as much as possible except for essential trips and to wear a mask or cloth face covering if they do go out in public,” said Senior Analyst Dee Vernberg. “As we reopen, it can only be safe if everyone does their part, so it’s critical for people to still be mindful of these recommendations. For example, I will wear a mask to protect you, and I hope you wear a mask to protect me.”
Since the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic began earlier this year, providers have administered 1,800 tests in Douglas County (as of May 7, 56 people have tested positive). With recently expanded testing protocols, this population survey’s findings suggest more people in the community may meet the requirement for testing, Vernberg said.
Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health staff encourage anyone currently experiencing symptoms to contact his or her primary care physician. Always call first before showing up at a provider.
Anyone without a primary care provider can call the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Coronavirus hotline, 785-856-4343, where nurses are available to provide initial screening and if needed, directions on how to get tested, including at the testing site in east Lawrence available by appointment.
Senior Analyst Aihua Zhu said many respondents in the survey left thoughtful comments.
“It is good to see how much support there seems to be for continuing the current recommendations regarding mitigation – including proper social distancing and encouraging people to wear cloth face coverings,” Zhu said.
Unified Command partners — Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health, City of Lawrence, Douglas County and LMH Health — asked all Douglas County residents to take the online survey, and a third wave of the survey is planned for next week. It will include a section on criteria for testing and will be available in English, Spanish and Chinese.
When it is available, the third survey will be posted at douglascountyks.org/coronavirus and ldchealth.org/coronavirus as well as shared on social media channels. Anyone with questions about the survey can call the Lawrence-Douglas County Public Health Coronavirus Hotline at 785-856-4343 or email email@example.com.