Bailer said due to the “unprecedented” high number of cases, even with more than 150 contact tracers, they can’t continue to call every person who may have been in contact with someone who tests positive.
When people test positive for the coronavirus, the health district and departments are tasked with contacting them and they have been quarantining others with whom they might have been in contact.
Bailer said they will focus on those who have tested positive. Her office will continue to contact and investigate the high-risk exposures and letters will be send to people who have tested positive with instructions about reaching out to their close contacts.
“When case numbers get as high as they are currently, research shows that contact tracing is of limited use in a community,” Bailer said. “It is really incumbent upon the community to not give COVID what it needs to spread. We know what to do to stop this pandemic—stay apart, wear a mask. COVID cannot spread without human hosts. If we stay apart we can decrease this pandemic.”
All three county commissioners, two West Chester Twp. trustees and the West Chester Twp. fire chief have suffered through the coronavirus in the past month. They have had different experiences with the contact tracers.
West Chester Twp. Trustee Ann Becker started feeling symptoms on Nov. 8 when her “everything bagel didn’t taste like anything,” and she received her positive result four days later. The health district contacted her almost a week after her positive test.
Commissioner T.C. Rogers said the health department reached out to him within a half a day of his positive COVID-19 test a few weeks ago and “they actually found out before I did.”
Commissioner Cindy Carpenter said the health district contacted her three times while she was ill.
“The action of warning people that they’ve been in contact with a positive COVID patient doesn’t make any difference,” Carpenter said previously. “That person could have been in contact with multiple COVID patients. It’s too widespread, we probably all have had contact if we’re outside of our homes.”
What to do
The Butler County General Health District is asking those diagnosed with coronavirus to do 3 things:
- Stay home for 10 days and until their symptoms are improved and they have had no fever for 24 hours without use of medication. Call a provider or 911 if symptoms are concerning.
- Get in touch with everyone they were near for two days before symptoms began, for 15 minutes or more over 24 hours, and within six feet, whether or not masks were worn. Ask them to quarantine for 14 days.
- Quarantine must be held for the entire 14 days even if a negative test result is obtained since people may get sick any time up to 14 days after exposure.