HOPKINS CO., Ky. (WFIE) - Hopkins County has more than 500 active cases of COVID-19, and with the number of close contacts associated with those cases, the health department says they have been overwhelmed.
Officials with the Hopkins County Health Department announced Wednesday that they will no longer be doing contact tracing for close personal contacts.
Instead, officials with the health department are isolating those who have tested positive for coronavirus and directing them to notify their contacts.
They say this change is to accommodate the overwhelming number of new cases.
The health department will still be contacting a positive case’s contacts who fall into high-risk categories or who work in high-risk environments. This would include nursing home residents and employees, inmates and those who work in jails.
The health department won’t be contacting close personal contacts, which would include members of your household, or maybe a relative that you had dinner with recently who does not fall into the high-risk categories.
According to the health department, if someone with COVID-19 tells you that you are a close contact to them, you are asked to quarantine for 14 days from your last exposure to that individual.
Health officials consider a close contact as someone who was within six feet of a person that has tested positive for 15 minutes or more.
Hopkins County Health Department says they will continue to work with the Department of Public Health and will use statewide guidance to promote an efficient, standardized, and sustainable system to mitigate the effects of the virus in the county.
Despite not conducting close contact tracing themselves, the health department says they will still notify those who have tested positive and provide them information on exposure so they can notify anyone who is deemed a close contact.
“Obviously this is going to help us out tremendously. We definitely have put in way more hours than we normally do. We have worked nine, ten, 12-hour days since this all began,” said nursing supervisor Leslie Allen.
In a statement posted on Facebook, the Hopkins County Health Department is warning the community, saying that if you are out in public at this time, you can assume you are being exposed on a regular basis.
They remind the community to wear your mask, continue to wash your hands and continue to practice social distancing.
You can read the health department’s entire statement below.