Got a COVID-Related Question? Check these FAQs from the MCHD


The Madison County Health Department has compiled a list of frequently asked questions regarding COVID 19 diagnoses and testing. They are as follows:

Our social media accounts are not monitored 24/7, so we have created this FAQ to cover your most common questions. It will be reviewed and updated on a regular basis.

I got a text saying that I had a positive COVID-19 test. Is that legitimate?
In brief, no. We will never send test results by text. We use text only if we cannot reach a case by phone and there is no voicemail on the phone number. The text from us will say “This is the Madison County Health Department trying to reach you in regards to an urgent health matter. Please call our office at 859-623-7312 as soon as possible.” Notice that it does not give any test result or even say what the health matter is. We do not send specific results by text.

How many tests have been conducted in Madison County?
We do not receive the total number of tests at the local level. We only receive positive test results. According to state officials, all labs known to be testing in Kentucky report the number of tests and number of positive tests. These reports are daily in most cases (a few labs report every couple of days). The reports are statewide only and do NOT include numbers per county. Therefore, we cannot give a “positivity rate” for the county.

Do you count positive antibody test as positive tests?
Positive antibody test alone are not counted; however, there are some instances when we would count them.

Are the positive cases from EKU and Berea College included in the daily case count of COVID-19 cases in Madison County?
Maybe. If the student remains in the county, they are counted here. If the student returns home, they are counted in their home county. EKU’s dashboard counts all EKU positive cases; we count only the ones that remain in Madison County.

Are probable cases counted?
If they meet the case definition for a probable case, they are counted.

What is the definition of a probable cases to be counted?
They have to have clinical symptoms of COVID-19 and have had close contact to a positive case with no confirmation testing performed. Or have a positive IgM antibody and have clinical symptoms or have had close contact to a positive COVID-19 case.

What instance would a positive antibody test be counted in the total of positive cases?
They have a positive IgM antibody and have clinical symptoms or are linked to a positive COVID-19 case. An IgM antibody test is positive for active and very recent infections.

Do other coronaviruses (such as the common cold) cause a positive test result?
A positive antibody test is not diagnostic; it is a preliminary result. According to CDC, it should be followed up by a viral test to confirm the result. Both tests are in use in “drive through” testing. For more information, go to

How do you separate people who take multiple tests?
We track our cases by individual names, not by number or test results. Multiple test results for a single individual are counted as a single case.

Why do case counts change because of discovery of a case’s actual county of residence?
We use the best possible information available at close of business every day and release it on our social media pages the following morning. Additional information gathered after that time may mean removing a case if we discover the person actually lives in another county.

If a college student whose home is in another county tests positive, where is their case counted?
If a student tests positive and will be isolating here, they are counted as a Madison County case. If they return home to another county, they are counted in their home county.

What is close contact?
Anyone who has been less than 6 feet distance for greater than 10 minutes.

If one person in a household is a close contact with a case, is everyone in the household a close contact?
No, only the person who was actually a close contact to a positive COVID-19 case is considered a contact. They should self quarantine for 14 days, including as much as possible from other members in the household. The “Gold Standard” would be for everyone in the household to voluntarily self quarantine.

How long does it take to recover?
There is no magic number. Some people recover in a few days; others take months. It depends on severity of symptoms, age and condition, other medical problems and a lot of other factors. Some people never have symptoms but are contagious to other people.

If I have a positive test result, do I need to have a negative test result before I go back to work?
It depends. There is no state requirement at this time. Some occupations and employers may have their own requirements.

What is considered “recovered”?
According to the CDC, persons with COVID-19 who have symptomsand were directed to care for themselves at home may discontinue isolation under the following conditions:

  • At least 10 days* have passed since symptom onset and
  • At least 24 hours have passed since resolution of fever without the use of fever-reducing medications and
  • Other symptoms have improved.

*A limited number of persons with severe illness may produce replication-competent virus beyond 10 days, that may warrant extending duration of isolation for up to 20 days after symptom onset. Consider consultation with infection control experts. See Discontinuation of Transmission-Based Precautions and Disposition of Patients with COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings (Interim Guidance).

Persons infected with SARS-CoV-2 who never develop COVID-19 symptomsmay discontinue isolation and other precautions 10 days after the date of their first positive RT-PCR test for SARS-CoV-2 RNA.

Where are people getting sick? Where should we avoid?
Positive COVID-19 cases have occurred throughout Madison County. There are no geographic boundaries. To reduce your risk, stay home as much as possible, avoid gatherings of people, wash your hands frequently, and wear a mask when you are around other people. According to our epidemiology team, this represents county wide spread. There is no concentration at EKU or Berea College.