Community-wide spread prompts changes for COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing
Tuesday, November 17, 2020
170 new cases have been coming in daily in Ingham County.  
 
 
LANSING, MI – Rising case counts across Ingham County and the state of Michigan indicate widespread community transmission of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), necessitating a change in strategy regarding containment of the virus. Case investigators at the Ingham County Health Department will prioritize outreach to high-risk cases and settings going forward.
 
Priority cases and situations include: people over age 65 years; people under age 18 years; anyone linked to an acute care, skilled nursing or long-term care facility; anyone linked to a school (includes child care facilities, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities); and any time a death has occurred. The health department will also take the recency of the case into account. Approximately 170 new cases have been coming in daily, taxing the capacity of the health department’s communicable disease team to contact all cases and close contacts.
 
“Unfortunately, COVID-19 is everywhere,” said Ingham County Health Officer Linda S. Vail. “COVID-19 is now widespread in the community. The public health strategies of identifying, investigating and contact tracing are effective for outbreaks and clusters, but not effective nor feasible for widespread community transmission. Our focus will now be on minimizing the spread and severity of the virus in high-risk cases and situations. With basic information that we will provide, most people who test positive can implement their own isolation and notify close contacts themselves.”
 
In the past week, cases have risen by 1,173. Daily case counts are about twice as high as they were a month ago. The percent of people who test positive for COVID-19 has also more than doubled in the past month growing from approximately 4% to 9%.
 
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should immediately isolate themselves, avoiding contact with others for at least ten days since symptoms began (or since they took the test if there are no symptoms). They must additionally see an improvement in symptoms and be fever-free without use of medications for 24 hours before ending isolation. Additionally, they should notify their close contacts. Close contacts are people who were within 6 feet of the COVID-19 positive person for a total of 15 minutes or more two days before the person developed symptoms (or two days prior to that person taking the test if there are no symptoms). Close contacts must quarantine for 14 days regardless of symptoms or their test results. For more information, visit hd.ingham.org/coronavirus
 

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