Contact tracing and quarantine guidelines key to slowing COVID-19 says Springfield-Greene Co Health Department

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 8:23 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Testing shows more than 2000 people in Greene County currently have COVID-19.

Hospitals are seeing an increase in the number of patients admitted. Right now, there are 113 people hospitalized; 50 at Mercy, 4 are on ventilators, at Cox, 63 people have been admitted, 14 on ventilators.

Hospital representatives say that although facilities are not at capacity this is the most COVID-19 patients they’ve seen at one time.

It’s why officials here at the health department are urging people who have been contacted and told they’ve been exposed to follow the quarantine guidelines.

“There are just too many circumstances with which we could be spreading the disease without knowing it,” said Community Wellness Coordinator for the Springfield-Greene County Health Department, Cara Erwin.

Doctors say a person can be infectious up to 2 days before symptoms of COVID-19 start showing. If you test positive in Green County, you’ll be contacted by an epi-investigator with the health department.

The company hired to assist the department will then take over.

Maximus then has a team of individuals who call those contacts to say you’ve been identified as close contact to a positive. We need you to start quarantining. They then provide them with guidance on what it means to quarantine as well as provide them with testing options and walk them through that and stick with them throughout the two week period until their quarantine is up," said Erwin.

Health officials say it’s important to follow the strict quarantine guidelines.

“A negative test does not mean you can come out of quarantine unfortunately. The full incubation period to become symptomatic and infectious is 14 days. You may test negative at day five and still become positive at day 10, 11, 12, 13 or 14,” she explained.

The health department says this is especially important as cases continue to rise throughout the region not just Greene County.

“We know that COVID fatigue is starting to set in. We need to just stay strong. That’s what we need to do to help prevent not only the spread but prevent those serious illnesses and unfortunately the deaths that continue to occur,” said Erwin.

Springfield Greene County Health officials say that their resources for contact tracing, even with the company it hired, are stretched thin. However, they are in contact with other health department officials throughout the Ozarks.

It’s important to remember that contract tracers will not ask you for any personal information, like your social security number.

As always, we’re being asked to continue to wash our hands, social distance and wear masks.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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