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COVID scare

Adirondack Health Mobile Dental Van converted to use as a COVID traveling testing site. (Provided photo — Diane Chase)

There are quite a few phone calls I don’t want to ever get. One is regarding my children and car accidents. The other ones are regarding any type of health issue. Recently my child had been sent home from work because someone had tested positive for COVID. Now you can skip right to the bottom or you can just stay with me here.

We went into full protective mode. We also didn’t have any information or timeline. We spent a long 30 minutes trying to figure out self-isolation and how many people a family of four has been in contact with over 24 hours. I was wondering if there was enough Lysol spray in the house to disinfect our fear.

Fear can be motivating if it stays in its own lane. It can reset our complacency and make us understand that we can do a better job. Thankfully this was one of those opportunities. Yes, we are mask wearers though we don’t wear them all the time. We wear them in groups. We have them with us at all times and when we are near people we don our masks.

I knew we didn’t have enough information, but I also didn’t know where to start. This is from a person who counts herself as informed. When it came to figuring out how to protect my family, I floundered. Thankfully a few of my friends are local nurses and one put me in direct contact with the Adirondack Medical Center COVID Clinic, 518-897-2462. (I like to think that I would have arrived at that conclusion eventually, but I may be giving myself too much credit.) From there I spoke with the director of the Essex County Health Department, Linda Beers.

Now from the writing of it all, it may sound like we were running around flailing our hands helplessly in the air. That is not the case. But we did ask our child to stay in the car until we had an exposure timeline and further information. I did not want to hear the words, “I think I know.” I needed dates, times, and places.

I am not a scientist and do not understand contact tracing. My view of what that meant was different from reality. I’ve been confusing six degrees of separation and applying it to COVID-19. When we were finally able to get a COVID exposure timeline, I was able to make an informed phone call, not a fear-based one.

It turns out my child did not have contact with an infected person. The infected person was a friend of a friend of a friend. My child had also been outside and not in direct contact with his boss for more than 10 minutes. This exposure was so distant that the possibility of my child getting COVID from an unmasked passerby is more probable. According to Beers, the only person being monitored for COVID is the person in direct contact with the positive case. It ends there.

Our life with COVID changes daily. New information arises and we have to adapt to the rules. The one rule not changing is that we have our medical community as a valuable resource for the most up to date information. For your safety and sanity here are few local resources: Adirondack Medical Center COVID Clinic, 518-897-2462, Essex County Health Department 518-873-3500, and Essex County NY Public Heath Facebook page. If you have any symptoms, please get tested. I hope you are all safe and sound.

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