A steady stream of women arrived at Howard Regional Health System’s parking lot Monday to get tested for tuberculosis.
Most said they were being tested as a precaution.
Last week, Howard County health officials confirmed an employee at OP Nail Salon and Spa had contracted tuberculosis. They urged people who visited the spa at 423 E. Center Road, between Sept. 28, 2011, and Feb. 22, to get tested.
Health officials said Friday the woman also was at the Center Road Laundromat, 421 E. Center Road. People who patronized the laundry between Nov. 1, 2011, and Feb. 22 also are urged to be tested for TB.
A free clinic will take place today from noon to 6 p.m. at the Community CareMobile Unit in the Howard Regional Health System parking lot on LaFountain Street. People getting tested have to return 72 hours later to have the test read.
Logansport resident Stephanie Birnell said she visited the salon in December while she was pregnant with her daughter, Emalynn.
“I was very surprised,” she said of the testing notice. “I’m not even from this town. [Visiting the spa] was actually a treat for me. My mom treated me to come and get a manicure and pedicure right before I had her.”
Birnell said she has worked in the health field for a number of years and had been exposed to TB before, but has never tested positive.
“I just want to be safe than sorry,” she said. “My main concern is [Emalynn].”
Jada Roach has been to the salon five times during the period when health officials said people may have been exposed. The first time was on her birthday, Sept. 28.
“I’m very concerned because she did my nails,” Roach said of the woman who tested positive for TB. “I’m hoping I test negative.”
Roach said the health department took the right action by conducting the free testing clinic.
Sheila Whitehead went to the salon with a friend and was being tested as a precaution.
“You’re always concerned when it comes to your health,” she said. “When I first heard about the testing, I wondered, where did she get it? There were all kinds of questions.
“I don’t think it’s her fault,” she said of the infected worker. “It was just one of those things.”
Whitehead said the health department has done a good job of informing the public.
“I hope I don’t have it, that’s why you get tested,” she said. “I just hope no one has it.”
Kathy Oldaker, nursing supervisor for the Howard County Health Department, said officials brought enough supplies to test 300 people each day.
“We don’t know how many people will be tested,” she said.
Oldaker said the health department learned of the second possible exposure site after patrons of the Laundromat called and said the woman had made visits there.
Health Officer Dr. Donald Zent said there is no threat to the general public.
“We’re screening people that might have had exposure, to see if they have been in contact with an active case,” he said. “We’ll move forward based on the number of people who test positive.”
Zent said if a person tests positive, the health department will conduct an interview and a chest X-ray will be required.
“If they do test positive, it probably is not in the active stage,” he said.