DHD#10 weighs in on contact tracing
The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services responded to an uptick in the numbers of COVID cases and COVID related deaths, as well as the percentage of positive test results by extending and expanding the epidemic orders.
Part of the newly extended orders reduces from 500 persons to 50 persons the maximum gathering size for indoor gatherings such as weddings, parties, and banquets which occur in nonresidential settings without fixed seating.
“For bars, restaurants, and social events outside private homes, indoor party sizes at a single table are now restricted to six people. Because individuals remove their masks while eating and drinking in indoor settings, seated tables with people from different households create high risks of spread.
“Like many other businesses in Michigan, bars and restaurants will also be required to take names and contact information to support effective contact tracing if necessary. Research published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shown that visiting restaurants is a risk factor for COVID positivity, and currently there are 12 outbreaks in Michigan associated with bars or restaurants with currently active clusters up to 12 cases.”
Earlier this week District Health Department #10 the organization tasked with the mission of promoting the health of our communities announced exposures at restaurants in Newaygo and Mecosta counties.
What does this new directive mean locally where compliance with mask wearing continues to be an issue? Will patrons of our local eateries be willing to pass along their names and contact info in exchange for a menu? Will local restaurateurs comply with the directive and require their serving staff or seating staff to request such info given the reactions to mask wearing requirements some front line people at businesses have had to endure? What will be the response to those who choose to ignore the order?
The changes take effect Monday.
We received this from DHD#10 on Friday:
In the span of seven days, District Health Department #10 reported a total of 413 lab-confirmed and 23 probable COVID-19 cases in our ten-county jurisdiction. With each confirmed and probable case, there are often numerous close contacts that must also be identified and contacted, which falls to public health to complete. While DHD#10 is utilizing assistance from Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) TraceForce program, as well as pulling in staff from other divisions within our agency to assist, we have reached capacity and are unable to promptly investigate every case and contact trace. Priority is being given to school aged children, residents and employees of long-term care facilities, hospitals, schools, large group settings, and other higher-risk situations.
“Cases of COVID-19 are higher than they have been at any point in this pandemic and continue to increase at alarming rates. We urge everyone to be empowered and choose to do the right thing by following what is laid out in the Epidemic Order,” stated Dr. Jennifer Morse, Medical Director for DHD#10. “Now is the time for all of us to take personal responsibility for ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities to slow the spread of this virus.”
DHD#10 is asking the public for patience and to follow these guidelines:
If you were notified that you tested positive for COVID-19:
If you were notified that you were a close contact to a positive case:
For more information on COVID-19, go to www.dhd10.org/coronavirus. You can also send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.