Macoupin County Public Health Department announced on Tuesday they are using contact tracing for COVID-19, a tool the health department has previously used to minimize outbreaks for sexually transmitted diseases and other communicable diseases, but it is a laborious process and is very time-consuming.
“Contact tracing is the process of identification of persons who may have come into contact with an infected person and the subsequent collection of further information about these contacts,” the health department said in their press release. “It is not used to identify where, when, or how an outbreak began. Contact tracing is used to help minimize future exposure and control the outbreak.”
The health department said if a person is identified as someone exposed to a positive case of COVID-19 and they live in Macoupin County, the health department will contact them. Typically, exposure is defined as being within 6 feet of a contagious person for more than 10 minutes.
The department uses every effort to reach out to every one of the contacts, tell them they have been exposed, and give them instructions on what to do next. Public health nurses provide guidelines about self-isolation and information about possible symptoms. They answer questions and dispel myths. When appropriate they refer for testing and/or additional medical care and treatment.
The purpose of contact tracing is to identify additional positive cases and to reduce the spread of infection. If you have any questions, please call the department’s hotline at 1-217-313-5078.
Testing for COVID-19 continues to be offered through the Maple Street Clinic in Gillespie. Individuals interested in testing must call 217-313-5078 to complete a screening. When a person calls the hotline number to obtain a COVID -19 test, the team will verify criteria has been met and then collect the required information to complete a specimen requisition form and assign an appointment time.
The test consists of a nasal pharyngeal swab. Samples will be sent to the Illinois State Laboratory for testing. Turn around for results varies based on the volume the State Lab is experiencing. All persons tested will be notified of results by the Macoupin County Public Health Department.
Persons with concerns regarding Macoupin County food establishments should call the Macoupin County Public Health Department Environmental Department at 217-839-4101 or 217-839-4111. Callers should leave a detailed message which will be returned in the order they are received.
Persons with concerns regarding any public or a private gathering of any number or concerns about other violations related to COVID-19 should contact their local police department or the Macoupin County Sheriff’s Department.