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Monroe Co. Health implements crisis standards for COVID-19

SPARTA, Wis. (WXOW) - The Monroe County Health Department said Friday that they've reached capacity for contact tracing cases of COVID-19.

The county has had an increase of more than 500 cases in the past month. On September 16, the county had 344 total cases. By September 30, the figure was 567 according to DHS numbers. On October 15, there were 853 cases of the virus.

Because of the high number of cases, Monroe County Health Department Director Sharon Nelson said that they've now implemented the Wisconsin Department of Health Services's Crisis Standards of Practice for COVID-19 Contact Tracing and Symptom Monitoring.

In a statement from Nelson and the Health Department, it said that under normal conditions, "all identified close contacts of a case are notified, asked to actively monitor for symptoms and remain in quarantine for 14 days following their last exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case. Under the crisis standards of practice, health departments are allowed to implement modifications for contact tracing efforts in notifying and monitoring contacts of cases when resources are constrained."

As a result, the health department is focusing its efforts at contact tracing to those at highest risk. The statement said that there may be times when some contacts might not receive a phone call from the department.

The statement also said,

"Confirmed cases should personally notify anyone they have had close contact with about their positive test result and direct their contacts to quarantine for 14 days from their last contact. This notification should be shared with any person in contact with the positive case while they had
symptoms AND during the 48 hours before symptoms developed. For positive cases without symptoms, they should notify anyone they had close contact with 2 days prior to their test date as well as any contact within the 10 days following their test date.

Close contacts are defined as those who:
 Had direct physical contact with a confirmed positive case (for example, a hug, kiss, or handshake).
 Were within 6 feet of a confirmed positive case for a total of more than 15 minutes in a single day (includes a single encounter or multiple encounters within a single day adding up to 15 minutes or more).
 Had contact with a confirmed positive case’s respiratory secretions (for example, coughed or sneezed on; contact with a dirty tissue; shared a drinking glass, food, towels, or other personal items).
 Live with the confirmed positive case or stayed overnight for at least one night in a house with that person.

The Monroe County Health Department has a FAQ webpage where people can get more information on quarantine. Find that page here.

Kevin Millard

Kevin Millard-Social Media Digital Content Manager for WXOW.

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