WARRENSBURG, Mo. (Nov. 17, 2020) – For the last eight months, Johnson County Community Health Services (JCCHS) has worked hard to contact each positive COVID-19 case in Johnson County. This process, called contact tracing, allows public health nurses to notify individuals of their isolation timeframe, obtain a list of close contacts to notify others that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, and monitor signs and symptoms experienced.
Due to the rising COVID-19 cases in Johnson County, the number of positive cases received daily far exceeds the capacity that JCCHS staff and volunteers can currently manage.
It has been JCCHS’ goal to contact positive cases within 24 hours of test results. However, due to the time it takes public health nurses to investigate each new case; and the delay in receiving test results from the labs or the state, it may be several days before a positive case can be contacted by JCCHS. This delay can cause more people to be exposed.
JCCHS reminds community members of the following:
- It can take five to seven days before JCCHS receives the positive results from the lab or state;
- JCCHS might not receive all positive test results;
- not all lab results have the correct personal or contact information to allow for the most accurate contact tracing; and
- Due to the increase of positive cases and reporting delay, it could be several days before public health nurses contact those who test positive.
What can you do to help expedite the process?
It is imperative to get past the barriers of traditional contact tracing, and mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19, especially if there is a potential delay in JCCHS receiving test results.
If you get a call from your doctor with a positive test result, you can take immediate action to slow the spread of the virus within your friends, family and coworkers by notifying close contacts of a potential exposure. Taking proactive actions will expedite the process to allow others to begin quarantine.
Please do not wait for a phone call from the health department before identifying and contacting your close contacts. This could eliminate the wait time and hopefully, stop people from unknowingly spreading the virus.
Who is considered a close contact? A close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, with or without a face covering, 48 hours before onset of symptoms. If no symptoms were present, then 48 hours before test date.
Educational information, regarding isolation timeframe, close contacts and quarantine, is available on the JCCHS website http://johnsoncountyhealth.org/self-isolate-and-contact-tracing/. JCCHS staff is also available for consultation by calling (660) 747-6121.
Other ways to slow the spread:
Keeping your distance from those outside of your household is important in limiting the spread of COVID-19. We urge everyone to continue taking personal responsibility for their own health and to protect others.
We have seen clusters related to large gatherings, school activities, and household exposure to a positive case. We continue to see an increase of interaction at social gatherings where physical distancing is not easily maintained.
Community members are asked to reconsider hosting or attending gatherings that bring together people that are outside of normal interactions, especially if physical distancing cannot be maintained. These activities are high risk for transmission of the virus.
JCCHS strongly recommends that everyone take precautionary measures to reduce the spread of the virus.
- Stay home if you are sick.
- Adhere to all social distancing recommendations and do not be within six (6) feet of others outside of your household for more than fifteen (15) minutes.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating. If not available, use hand sanitizer. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
- Wear a face covering when in public.
Remember, we are all in this together and it will take all of us to continue the fight against COVID-19.