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Washtenaw County Health Department staff "exhausted, desperate," from COVID-19 case rise

A healthcare worker process a COVID-19 test at Beaumont.
Beaumont Health

The public health capacity to deal with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases is becoming overwhelmed, according to Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, Communications and Health Promotion Administrator for the Washtenaw County Health Department.

She says her staff is exhausted, after working overtime and weekends for months.

"It almost feels like there's a desperation," she says. "And it's not going away, and it's not going to go away like this."

Ringler-Cerniglia says people need to start paying more attention to public health guidance to keep COVID-19 from spreading and overwhelming hospitals again. That means strictly limiting social gatherings, staying out of crowds, physically distancing, and wearing a mask.

And she says if you know, or are told, that you were in close contact with someone with COVID-19, you must quarantine for 14 days. No shortcuts there.

"You cannot test your way out of it, and if you decide to test, then we recommend waiting at least 5 days to take that test."

But even with a negative test result, she says, finish the rest of the 14 day quarantine. That's because it can take that long for symptoms to develop.

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.