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El Paso County Health may not be able to complete contact tracing for all COVID-19 cases

The department says it is due to the high number of cases
Another potential symptom of coronavirus: shame
Posted at 8:35 AM, Nov 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-11 10:40:26-05

COLORADO SPRINGS — As a result of rapidly increasing cases in El Paso County, the health department said it may not be able to complete contact tracing for all positive cases in the county.

The county is seeing 711.4 cases per 100,000 and a 13.26% positivity rate in the last two weeks as of Tuesday's data. The state health department notified the El Paso County Department of Public Health at the end of October it would need to shift into a more restrictive level. As of Nov. 4, the county has been in Safer At Home Level 2: Concern with stricter capacity limits.

Due to the inability to complete contact tracing for all positive cases in the county, health officials are asking residents to notify close contacts if they have tested positive for COVID-19. The health department is also notifying people that if they do test positive for the virus, they could be contacted for a phone interview or receive a text to fill out an online survey.

The El Paso County Department of Public Health and Environment has been conducting contact tracing in the county since the start of the pandemic. Contact tracing is when health officials "trace" the steps of a positive COVID-19 case to see who has been in contact with the person and where they might have been.

"Each time we are getting a report of a case, we are contacting that person to find out where they have been in the past two weeks before the illness," said El Paso County Public Health Epidemiologist Kimberly Pattison in an interview with News5 earlier this year. “To identify where they might have been infected, but also see where they might have been while they were infected. The path and patterns of someone who is infected helps identify many other people as possible at risk of getting the virus."

The numbers the county faces puts us within the Level 3 threshold on the state's dial, but Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers said in a tweet at the end of October that the county health department's mitigation plan has kept the county from taking "more drastic measures at this time."
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