Arkansas Department of Health Reduces Contact Tracing

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – There have been 22,136 new cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas since January 1.

The number of cases over time makes contact tracing very difficult to track. Thus, the Department of Health will no longer search for adults in Arkansas and will focus only on school-aged children.

ADH’s Dr Jennifer Dillaha said trying to track the number of cases right now was impractical.

“It’s not possible for contact tracers to scale up and hire new people so quickly. By the time that happens, we might be on the downhill side of that spike, ”she said.

She said she hopes the effort to find the children’s contacts will keep schools open and the fact is, those 18 and under are still one of the most sensitive age groups.

“One of the most vulnerable groups are children who cannot yet be vaccinated as well as those who have not had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated,” said Dr Dillaha.

With schools resuming just after the holidays, there has not yet been an increase in omicron cases in these age groups.

“We expect a sharp increase in the number of infected students after the start of the school year,” warned Dr Dillaha.

The responsibility for being safe and for informing those who may have been exposed has shifted to the general public and businesses. Dr Dillaha recommends that companies be aware of all CDC guidelines on what action to take if exposed or positive.

She said the public was well aware of how to protect themselves against the spread and contraction of the virus and that action was needed more than ever.

ADH will reassess its contact tracing policy in the future.

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