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COVID-19 contact tracing is becoming difficult in Genessee County amid surge in cases

Michigan’s surging COVID-19case numbers are straining many local efforts to track down people who may be infected.

State health officials added another 12,763 confirmed coronavirus cases Monday, which also includes tests from Sunday. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Michigan has recorded 264,576 COVID-19 cases. A total of 8,049 Michiganders have died from the illness. 

Health experts say contact tracing is an important tool to limiting the spread of the virus. But many admit that is difficult to do with a rising number of cases.

“We’re at a point now where it’s very difficult for us to do the contact tracing for all of the cases,” says Jim Henry, Genesee County’s Acting Health officer.  

Henry says the county is prioritizing schools, people over the age of 65, and those linked to possible outbreaks.

County health officials admits that does leave out a large number of confirmed cases in Genesee Countyare not being followed up on. 

“Age 23 to 64 are not being investigated,” says Kim Van Slyke, the county’s Communicable Disease Director. “So their contacts are also not being contacted.”

Van Slyke says they are encouraging Genesee County residents between the ages of 23 to 64 who test positive to do their own contact tracing.

Genesee County health department officials say they need the community’s help to “reel in” what’s going on and educate their friends and loved ones about what to do.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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