Health districts across Idaho warn case surges have slowed contact tracing

Posted at 4:25 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 18:25:02-05

Health districts across Idaho are warning of backlogs in contact tracing as COVID-19 cases surge state-wide.

South Central Public Health District, Central District Health, Southwest District Health, and the Panhandle Health District are warning the number of cases are slowing districts abilities to followup with contacts of reported cases. Now, the four public health agencies are asking for the public's help.

“We are committed to doing our part in public health,” said Katherine Hoyer, Public Information Officer at Panhandle Health District, in a statement. “But the reality we are facing is that levels of community transmission are making the critical work of investigation and contact tracing diluted. Simply put, we need the cooperation of our community members to do all they can to reduce their risk and protect themselves, their loved ones and fellow community members.”

Because of the backlog, the health districts are asking residents who are not getting a call or anyone who is awaiting results to protect themselves and those around them.

If you are waiting for COVID-19 test results, you are asked to:

  • Stay home and monitor your health – stay away from others in your household whenever possible. Watch for fever, cough, shortness of breath or other symptoms of COVID-19. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure.
  • Think about the people you have recently been around and in what environments.
  • Answer the phone call from the health department if they are able to reach out to you.

As cases climb, the agencies are forced to prioritize investigations by age to ensure those most at risk for severe coronavirus symptoms are contacted, according to a news release from the four health districts.

If you test postive for coronavirus:

  • Stay home except to get medical care; do not visit public places.
  • Take care of yourself – get rest, stay hydrated.
  • Stay in touch with your doctor – seek care if you have any emergency warning signs or if you think it’s an emergency.
  • Contact those with whom you have had close contact with to let them know they may have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Avoid public transportation, ride-sharing or taxis.