Ohio County contact tracing procedure being revised: as the case numbers skyrocket, the system has to change

Ohio County

OHIO COUNTY, W.Va. (WTRF) — COVID contact tracing is going to become a lot different in West Virginia soon.

County health departments, and in some cases, a few members of the National Guard have been making hundreds of calls each day.

But as the case numbers skyrocket, the system has to change.

At first, they were seeing one or two new cases a day. They’d call the person and ask for a list of their close contacts. It might be 15 people each, but they called them all, and told them what they needed to do.

But now they’re getting 35 new cases a day–some counties even more.

The system had to change.

And so we’re trying now to make it a little more streamlined. Trying to go after the positives as fast as we can, notify the immediate household members and then ask the positive to notify their contacts. Employees, family and friends and just tell them the basics. Quarantine, get tested, monitor their symptoms.

Howard Gamble, Ohio County Health Administrator

Gamble says they can’t be sure that people will actually notify their contacts.

You have to take their word for it.

But he says all along, they’ve had to take their word for lots of things, like how long they’ve actually quarantined.

But he says it’s a two-way street.

In his words, “We need to trust the public, and the public needs to trust the public health system.”

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