Scott County Health Department to begin expanded contact tracing this week

The Scott County Health Department will begin expanded contact tracing later this week, director Ed Rivers said Monday during a daily briefing of the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition.

The Iowa Department of Public Health announced last week that it would also increase the follow-up activities completed by local public health departments in response to the spread of coronavirus in the state.

Rivers says since the middle of March until last week, health department staff followed up on positive cases of coronavirus in Scott County by:

  • Completing an interview with the individual who tested positive (or a close family member).
  • Determining who their household contacts were and providing guidance on how to prevent the spread of illness.
  • Determining when their symptoms began to determine their timeline for home isolation.
  • Assisting them in contacting their employer and determining the plan the employer has in place for responding to a positive case of coronavirus.
  • Following up with individuals periodically until they have completed home isolation.

Later this week, staff will expand their case follow-up, also known as contact tracing, to include:

  • All contacts an individual may have had in the 48 hours prior to when they first started showing symptoms.
  • Contacts include individuals who they may have been physically near (closer than 6 feet) for longer than 30 minutes.

New data suggests that the most infectious period for an individual is just before they begin to show symptoms, health officials said Monday.

“These changes to the guidance reflect public health’s effort to take what we now know and respond accordingly,” Rivers said. “That’s why our messages of staying home and keeping your distance from others, even if you aren’t sick, are still so very important.

Rivers also reminded all Scott County residents to complete the assessment to help gather information on the spread of coronavirus in Iowa.

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