DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Public Health Dayton and Montgomery County said Thursday it is experiencing a backlog of cases that require contact tracing and asks people to be proactive.
PHDMC said as the number of cases continues to rise, there may be a delay in the time that Public Health can make contact with sick individuals. As a result, Public Health asked for anyone who has received a positive COVID-19 test result to reach out to everyone they believe may have been exposed as a close contact.
Individuals who have received a positive test result should not wait to be contacted by Public Health; they should begin to notify potential close contacts immediately. All close contacts should self-quarantine for 14 days. Complete guidance for isolation and quarantine may be found at https://www.phdmc.org/.
According the CDC, a close contact is defined as someone who was within six feet of an infected person for 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to test specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. Additionally, direct physical contact, sharing utensils, a nearby sneeze or cough, kissing, or caring for someone with COVID-19 also meet the criteria for a close contact.
Public Health said contact tracing involves identifying people who may have COVID-19 due to contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. The purpose of contact tracing is to slow the spread of the virus by:
- Notifying people that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to monitor their health for signs and symptoms
- Asking people to self-isolate of self-quarantine if appropriate
- Helping people that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested
- Helping people identify the resources they need to safely stay at home
Montgomery County Health Commissioner, Jeff Cooper said, “Exponential growth in cases over the past several weeks has definitely created a huge backlog in contact tracing. What’s really important is being able to contact people as quickly as possible, so they can self-quarantine or isolate to prevent the virus from spreading even further. That’s why we are asking everyone with a positive test to notify anyone that may be a close contact.”
Individuals who have already been contacted and interviewed by Public Health for contact tracing do not need to reach out to close contacts.