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Rock Co. unable to keep up with COVID-19 contact tracing

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Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 4:20 PM CDT
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JANESVILLE, Wis. (WMTV) - Rock Co. Public Health Department implemented crisis standards of practice due to COVID-19 Friday, saying they are unable to keep up with contact tracing that they would normally be able to do for a typical outbreak.

There were 933 COVID-19 cases reported in Rock County, which is nearly double that of any one month since the start of the pandemic.

The number of active cases in the county also increased from 221 to 616, which has created an “overwhelming” number of cases and close contacts.

Health Officer Marie-Noel Sandoval noted in a news release that despite increased staffing and help from the state contact-tracing team, the number of people who have to be contacted has exceeded the capacity of the county.

“This pandemic has reached a level in Rock County that has forced us to begin to implement crisis standards of practice as suggested by Dr. Ryan Westergaard, Chief Medical Officer and State Epidemiologist for Communicable Diseases,” said Sandoval.

Dr. Westergard sent a memo out to all local and tribal health departments on Sept. 15, which outlined recommendations for crisis standards of practices. It included modifications for the ideal standards of contact tracing needs.

Sandoval asked that residents help them by answering their phone once testing positive for the coronavirus, because it could be a Public Health nurse or contact tracer. Residents should also notify their close contacts about testing positive and stay home.

Those who have not tested positive and are not a close contact should continue to avoid gatherings, wear a mask and practice social distancing. Keeping track of who you are in close contact with was also advised.

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