Overwhelmed contact search paused | Columbia County
HUDSON – The spike in COVID-19 cases means you may not get a call from contact tracers, but you may need to self-quarantine.
The Columbia County Health Department posted on its website and Facebook page that you may not receive a call from a county or state contact tracer.
“The Columbia County Department of Health is following CDC contact tracing guidelines during peak load times, which calls for prioritizing case investigations to focus on those who tested positive most recently. Contact elicitation and notification focuses on family contacts and sensitive parameters,” according to the post.
The county health department is asking people to take action based on their circumstances if they test positive or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive.
“Basically we’re telling people that because of the high burden we may not be able to contact you,” said Department of Health Director Jack Mabb. “We may not be able to call you and we just want to warn people about that.”
A person who tests positive, regardless of their vaccination status, must self-isolate for five full days beginning the day after the day after their test sample is collected. They should also notify household and other close contacts of the quarantine.
If you are a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you must follow the Director of Public Health’s quarantine order and must self-quarantine for five days after your last contact with the person, unless you are both fully immunized and have no symptoms.
If you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 but has no symptoms, the Columbia County Health Department website says you don’t need to self-quarantine, but you must wear a mask around others for 10 days. You should also get tested on the fifth day, if possible.
The Columbia County Health Department has letters available on its website for people who need to quarantine or self-isolate due to COVID-19. The form can be used for release from quarantine and for requests for paid family leave in New York COVID-19 as if it were an individual quarantine order issued by the County Public Health Director. Columbia.
“It’s for people who need letters to get back to work,” Mabb said. “It’s really a function of we just can’t keep up with the letters.”
When health services face a heavy burden of COVID-19 cases, they may not have the resources to conduct timely case investigations and contact tracing activities for all reported COVID cases. -19.
In these situations, prioritization of public health activities may become necessary. As the burden of COVID-19 worsens in a region and the ability to investigate new cases in a timely manner becomes more difficult, the CDC suggests that health departments should prioritize which cases to investigate and which contacts to search.
The CDC has suggestions for how to assess an area’s ability to conduct case investigation and contact tracing: A high load could be defined as a backlog of cases for each investigator that is at least double the number (100% more) they are able to interview each day; the average burden could be defined as a backlog of cases for each interviewer that is 50% greater than the number of cases they are able to interview each day; a low burden could be defined as a reasonable number of cases that each interviewer has to call each day.
Columbia isn’t the only county to follow CDC guidelines during times of high load, recently Greene County made a similar announcement advising residents they may not receive a call from their health department national or local for contact tracing.
The Columbia County Health Department reported Tuesday that two county residents have died of COVID-19, bringing the county’s total to 117 since the pandemic began. The two deaths include a 62-year-old man who was unvaccinated and a man in his 80s who had been fully vaccinated and received the booster. Mabb said the man had a number of comorbidities and died of complications from COVID-19-related pneumonia.
The county has reported 10 COVID-related deaths since Dec. 1. Of the 117 total deaths, three are people who were vaccinated, including the one reported on Tuesday. The three people vaccinated were all elderly people with comorbidities. The other 115 deaths in the county were unvaccinated.
“Based on what we see in other parts of the world, this omicron variant will run its course quickly here,” Mabb said. “I think the large number of cases we are seeing now will drop significantly by the end of January.”
The county reported 155 new cases Sunday, 126 new cases Monday and 107 new cases Wednesday. Until Dec. 28, the county had not had a day when the number of new daily cases hit triple digits.
About 60% of cases in the county are vaccinated, Mabb said Tuesday. Although these breakthrough cases can occur in vaccinated people, they are much less severe than positive cases in unvaccinated people. The majority of serious hospitalizations concern unvaccinated people.