Counties ask for help in coronavirus contact tracing

Tracking coronavirus cases proves difficult amid new surge
Posted at 10:27 AM, Oct 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-16 11:27:28-04

MADISON, Wis. (AP) — Some Wisconsin counties are asking those who’ve contracted the coronavirus to help with contact tracing, the work that is typically left to health care workers.

Wisconsin hit a new daily high for confirmed coronavirus cases and hospitalizations on Thursday.

Rock and Chippewa counties are among those who say they need help in identifying and notifying those who have been in close contact with someone who’s infected.

“Despite increased staffing and the assistance of the state contact tracing team, the number of people to be contacted has now exceeded the capacity of the Rock County Public Health Department,” Rock County Public Health Director Marie-Noel Sandoval said. “We are no longer able to conduct the same level of contact tracing that we would during a typical outbreak.”

Chippewa County announced that health officials will no longer be contacting all potential contacts of those who contract COVID-19, instead only contacting those who are deemed “high-risk.”

Those contacts include students and schoolteachers, those who have visited bars or restaurants, health care workers, day care workers, and all household contacts, Wisconsin Public Radio New s reported.

Public health officials say one reason for surging cases is people lacking the knowledge of who might be sick.