North Dakota asking people positive for COVID-19 to do their own contact tracing
Fargo Cass Public Health says it hopes to be able to catch up on the backlog by the end of the day.
FARGO, N.D.- The rise of COVID-19 cases has created a backlog for the North Dakota Health Department causing them to make
new changes to the way they do contact tracing.
With coronavirus cases spiking in the state, Fargo Cass Public Health is prioritizing the work of their contact tracers.
“The changes we are expecting and would like is for the positive cases to reach out to their close contacts. Individuals that have been within six feet of them for 15 minutes or longer,” says the Director of Protection and Promotion at Fargo Cass Public Health Larry Anenson.
The department has 25 contact tracers and is still doing case investigations and contacting people who are positive for COVID-19.
“We will also provide them with some fact sheets and information that they can provide to their close contacts that gives accurate and consistent information,” Anenson says.
Fargo Cass Public Health has 20 to 25 additional staff that are trained in contact tracing.
They’re only available to come in when absolutely necessary.
“There’s a lot of factors that have to be in consideration because if I do pull individuals from other public health duties such as school nursing, environmental health, we have to find individuals to cover their positions and so it starts to be a little bit of a domino effect,” he says.
The department says the response from those asked to do contact tracing has been positive so far.
“We hope that with the positive cases reaching out, that’s going to allow us to get to the positive cases and decrease the backlog in the state,” he adds.
The Department of Health said in an email sent around 7:30 Thursday night that it has resolved the backlog of notifications for over 800 North Dakotans who tested positive for COVID-19.