Northern Michigan Health Departments Discuss Contact Tracing

Health departments across northern Michigan have been working to track possible virus exposure sites.

The process of what’s known as contact tracing involves local health departments determining anyone who may have been exposed to the coronavirus.04 08 20 Exposure Sites Pkg 6

Once a positive case is identified, they want to know everywhere that person went and who they came into contact with, including 48 hours before they started showing symptoms.

“The goal of contact tracing is to identify anyone who is at risk for significant exposure to the disease, that means within six feet for ten minutes or more and if that happened at work or something like that then certainly that extends out to co-workers beyond household contacts,” said Lisa Peacock, Health Officer with the Benzie Leelanau Health Department.

Health departments will also sometimes release potential exposure sites. In Grand Traverse County, those sites have included Cherry Capital Airport, Target, and gas station.

“It really can differ from case to case to case and it can depend on what we feel the public’s exposure could possibly have been. so we just want to put it out there that, hey, remember to take these precautions, you should be doing this anyway, you know the virus is here, but reminding the community that it can be at any place you go,” said Erin Johnson, Communicable Disease and Prevention Program Supervisor with the Grand Traverse County Health Department.

And this is a major reason why health departments are asking people to limit their trips out and to remember where they go and who they come into contact with.

“We are all safest in our homes right now. If everyone puts themselves in the position of if they were to test positive tomorrow and the health department were to call you, who would you have to say you have had contact with,” said Peacock.

Categories: Coronavirus