The next best thing: personal responsibility.
BOISE, Idaho — Contact tracing is something you’ve probably heard a lot about since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, but now, as our cases in Idaho surge, Central District Health’s Brandon Atkins told KTVB, we all have a personal responsibility when it comes to keeping each other safe.
“With the case rates as high as they are in our community right now, it’s really quite a burden for our epidemiology team to keep up, they continue to contact trace, but they really have to prioritize the highest risk populations,” Atkins said. “People should know within our community if they have tested positive for the disease, they have COVID-19, they’ve been infected with coronavirus, that they need to be isolating and quarantining, and they need to be contacting the people they could have put at risk.”
Earlier this month, four public health districts sent out a news release saying case surges have created backlogs and delays for their disease investigation teams, and despite teams working diligently, it’s impossible for the health teams to contact all new, reported cases, according to the news release.
“The coronavirus can be anywhere and everywhere, and people need to continue to utilize the strategies that have been provided for them, the social distancing, face coverings and appropriate hygiene, but they also need to work together as a community to let others know if someone does test positive the indication is you need to quarantine and you need to be at home,” Atkins said.
In a statement, Southwest District Health Program Manager Ricky Bowman said in part: “we are unable to follow-up with each individual through contact tracing efforts due to the sheer volume of cases and the limited bandwidth of our staff. We do not see a slowdown in case rates.”
With no slowdown in sight, Atkins said the community needs to step it up, and that starts with a change.
“We have to change the behaviors, we can’t continue to say it doesn’t matter, we’re a small population, if that’s the mentality that people continue we can expect to see more and more people getting this illness and unfortunately, we’re going to see more and more people die unnecessarily in most cases from this illness,” Atkins said.
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