BILLINGS — While waiting on COVID-19 test results, people should isolate themselves at home and keep away from others living in the home, St. Vincent Healthcare COVID-19 test site staff told Q2 Monday.
"If you have family members that you live with you need to pick a room and a bathroom that are yours and yours alone. And the rest of the family need to stay throughout the rest of the house," said Candace Brown, a emergency clinical supervisor at St. V's.
Brown has been staffing the drive-up COVID-19 test tent at St. V's since March 21, she said.
Test results take about four days to come back, Brown said. During that time, isolation is the key to make sure other members of the household don't get sick.
"Everyone in the house will have to stay home until test results come back. Whether they are positive or negative, doctors will then give you a phone call and direct you to what the next steps are while you continue to deal with whatever symptoms you may be having," Brown said.
It may be tough for some to hear they have to isolate from their kids. But if results come back negative, people can return to what has become relative normal: following social distancing and only leaving home for the essentials.
“You can still hug your kids. I don’t discourage that, unless you have symptoms. So if you’re staying at home just to safeguard against everyone in public, don’t take this as a 'you can’t interact with your kids' type thing. You can still hug your kids. But if you have symptoms, that’s when you do need to take a step back and take those moments to not hug as much. And that’s just a hard thing that we all have to deal with," Brown said.
While at home, Brown encouraged people to practice good sanitation and cleaning. Trash cans should have liners and high-touch surfaces should be cleaned regularly.
“We want you to wipe down commonly used surfaces. So, doorknobs, counter tops, phones, remotes, iPads. Make sure you’re cleaning your bathroom. If you are going to be throwing away any tissues to make sure that you simply have a liner in your trash can because you don’t want to be wiping down your trash can every time you empty it out," Brown said.
Most people that Brown has interacted with at the test tent have been educated about COVID-19 testing procedures and protocol.
“I think people are choosing to stay pretty well educated with this. We don’t have a whole lot of folks that come in who don’t understand the reason for social distancing or self isolation, those kinds of things," Brown said.
The health care community in Billings has seen in influx in gratitude over the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. But the one thing health care workers would appreciate the most, is if everyone stayed healthy.
"It’s been awesome to see people reach out just showing their gratitude. And it’s not to say that we don’t get that, but there’s been in influx and a huge increase in that. We see that, we hear it, we appreciate it. But beyond that, staying safe is one of the biggest things you can do to help us. It allows us to keep giving care to the people who need it," Brown said.