Forsyth County Taps Local Resources To Continue Contact Tracing

Forsyth County Taps Local Resources To Continue Contact Tracing

3:23pm Apr 06, 2020
The Forsyth nurses are county employees that usually serve children in school buildings, but they remain closed because of concerns over the coronavirus. KERI BROWN/WFDD

Forsyth County is continuing the practice known as contact tracing to limit the spread of COVID-19. This comes as the state no longer requires it because community spread is ramping up. 

Local health departments use contact tracing when they are notified by the state of a positive coronavirus case. The infected person is asked to provide a list of anyone who was within six feet of the individual for 10 minutes or more.  They are instructed to quarantine at home for several days. The process takes a lot of manpower for local officials, and it’s becoming harder to do as case counts continue to mount.

Shontell Robinson, Forsyth's Assistant County Manager, says they’re enlisting help from county workers who are impacted by school building closures.

“We’ve been able to pull in our school nurses to assist and so since the schools are closed our school nurses are assisting with that,” she says. “Our school nurses are also helping us manage our COVID-19 helpline and so again, we are being as resourceful as we possibly can.”

Robinson says like many counties, they’re not sure how long they will be able to continue contact tracing to help reduce the spread of COVID-19. Eight school nurses are currently helping the county with the process, along with three communicable disease nurses.

“Since we now have community transmission, it will become more challenging for local health departments to continue to conduct contact tracing for every case. Those that can are encouraged to, but we recognize that some will have to prioritize contact tracing for cases in high-risk settings like long-term care and other congregate living,” says Kelly Haight Conner, communications manager with the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.  

Haight Connor adds that this emphasizes the importance of everyone following guidance for what to do when you are sick or exposed to someone who is sick:

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you’re experiencing.

*Follow WFDD’s Keri Brown on Twitter @kerib_news

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