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Amid Surge, Greene County Unable To Contact Trace All New Positive COVID-19 Cases

The Greene County General Hospital is the county's only hospital. (WFIU/WTIU News)

Greene County residents who test positive for the coronavirus may need to complete their own contact tracing.

Overwhelmed and unable to trace every new positive case, the Greene County Health Department will begin sending instructions to some patients who test positive. 

"We're finding it is not tied to any specific event, rather it is tied to people congregating indoors," Greene County Health Department Administrator, Shari Lewis said. 

Lewis confirmed the community is currently experiencing "uncontrolled community spread."

Individuals still will be contacted by state tracers, but well-documented delays—some more than seven days—by the Maximus-managed state program could lead to more infections. That’s why the county will ask some patients to identify and reach out to their own close contacts.

The department will triage and contact individuals in high-risk populations and those who are deemed to have a high number of potential close contacts.

State Health Commissioner, Dr. Kristina Box, announced changes to the state program Wednesday. These include script edits that aim to reduce delays.

READ MORE: Local Health Officials Say Indiana's Contact Tracing Efforts 'Unacceptable'

“We recognized that we needed to make some changes to our contact tracing process,” Box said. “Because with more cases, interviews were taking much longer and we were seeing more cases lost to follow-up.”

Greene County, however, isn’t alone. Vigo and a growing number of other counties are implementing—or at least exploring—similar policies that triage limited local public health capacity.

Thursday, Indiana announced a record number of new positive cases—each of which require tracing. 

This article has been updated.

For the latest news and resources about COVID-19, bookmark our Coronavirus In Indiana page here.

 

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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