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Andrew County Health Department continues contact tracing as the state reopens

The Andrew County Health Department has been tracking each of the 17 residents that tested positive, five have recovered.

Posted: May 18, 2020 11:42 PM

(SAVANNAH, Mo.) Statewide as cities and counties open up, COVID-19 contact tracing becomes more crucial.

“The number of contacts for a possible case have went up,” Andrew County Health Department Administrator Andrew Hoffman said. "Our first batch of cases, I would say, there was very few contacts for each positive."

And more difficult.

“Some of our cases come from relation to the Triumph situation down there in the last few couple weeks, that have come from that initial spike,” Jayne White from the Andrew County Health Department said.

The Andrew County Health Department has been tracking each of the 17 residents that tested positive, five have recovered.

“The last few cases that we've had though, have not necessarily all have been connected to a known outbreak situation,” White said.

It only takes one person infected with the virus to spread it to a half dozen others.

“It takes a lot of time to do intense contact tracing and to do those things so not many days go by that at some point we don't work during the day or evenings at some point,” White said.

The idea behind contact tracing is simple. When someone tests positive, a public health worker tracks down all of their contacts calling, emailing, messaging to get everyone who was exposed to go home and isolate.

“We have had to look at staff and how we deal with those situations cause it does get tough especially as we are seeing more contacts, it just takes longer to work the cases,” White said.

The work for the Andrew County Health Department was much simpler when people were staying home.

“We are finding out that each of these positive cases has even more contacts and so that, we have to make a lot more phone calls, and touch a lot more people trying to find out where they've been because people are moving around a lot more,” Hoffman said.

If you want to help make their lives a little bit easier, you can.

“It's really important for us to get out the message that yes things are opening up in the United States, in Missouri, in the counties surrounding us, but people still need to maintain that social distance,” Hoffman said.

Andrew County is also hosting it's own community testing clinic this Friday. You can head over to their website at andrewcountyhealth.com to register priority is given to residents but it's open to any Missouri resident 14 and older. Only 50 spots are currently left.

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