Winona County Contact Tracing Delayed by High Demand
TJ Leverentz | Nov 21, 2020 AT 9:08 am
Story updated at 11:40 a.m. on 11/23/20 to include latest COVID-19 stats.
(KWNO) Winona County officials say their contact tracing efforts are being delayed due to rapidly rising COVID-19 cases.
The county has seen 1,077 new COVID-19 cases in November, an average of 47 new COVID-19 cases per day. The county’s COVID-19 death toll has also risen to 28.
50 new cases were tallied in Winona County Monday.
A release from Winona County Emergency Management says contact tracers across the state are experiencing delays due to rising cases. A quick rise in cases in Trempealeau County exceeded their contact tracing capacity earlier this month.
County leaders are asking residents who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate for 10 days and create a list of recent contacts.
Full release from Winona County Emergency Management 11/20/2020:
Since the beginning of November, Winona County has seen 955 new cases of COVID-19. In the past week alone, there have been 452 new positive cases with the average daily cases being 64.6 cases. These all-time high case numbers are causing a delay in timely contact tracing.
This is not unique to Winona County, across the State of Minnesota, there are delays in case investigation and contact tracing because of the high case numbers all over the state. Case Investigation is when a Contact Tracer calls someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. A Contact Tracer calls the individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 to ask questions about exposure and their close contacts. Contact Tracing is when a Contact Tracer calls the close contacts of someone who has tested positive to inform them of COVID-19 exposure. All calls will come from a Contact Tracer from the County Health Department of the Minnesota Department of Health.
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has launched a new text messaging platform that will text an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 to inform them that a Contact Tracer will be calling them. If you do not have a cell phone that can text message, contact tracers will call you when they can.
Do not wait for a call to take action. We are asking that individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 to do the following:
· Stay home:
o For at least 10 days since you first had symptoms AND
o You have been fever-free for at least 24 hours (without medicine that reduces fevers) AND
o Your symptoms have improved for at least 24 hours
· Start a list of people you had contact with beginning two days before your symptoms started to present or two days before you tested for COVID-19 to present.
o Contact the individuals on your list to inform them that you have tested positive for COVID-19 AND
o inform them to:
§ Stay home for 14 days from when they last had close contact with you.
§ Seek COVID-19 testing 5-7 days from when they last had close contact with you.
· Contact your employer, school, or childcare about your COVID-19 status.
· Avoid contact with others, even those in your household.
· Seek professional medical care if needed, by calling your healthcare provider or 911 if it is a medical emergency. When calling please notify the first responder or healthcare provider of your COVID-19 status.
By doing the things listed above, we can work together to help slow the spread of COVID-19. It’s on all of us to slow the spread of COVID-19.