Department Explains, Updates COVID Contact Tracing Activities

Department Explains, Updates COVID Contact Tracing Activities

November 6, 2020

The Wyoming Department of Health (WDH) is explaining what residents should expect for contract tracing activities if they test positive for COVID-19 or are potentially exposed to a person who tests positive.

Contact tracing involves calling people who have tested positive to find out about their activities and also sometimes potential close contacts so they can take action to help prevent further spread of the virus.

“With this pandemic and with other diseases, we consider contract tracing to be one of our most important strategies to slow and limit the progress of a virus,” said Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH. “Overall, it can help protect you and your family and friends from illness and can support your community’s efforts to keep schools and businesses operating.”

Recent dramatic increases in Wyoming’s case counts have made it challenging for state and county public health representatives to handle the volume of contact tracing calls and related activities as quickly as they were able to at earlier points.

“To make the most of our available resources we will focus now on following up in a timely manner with residents who have tested positive. Close contacts may also receive calls at times from public health representatives, but only in certain priority situations and settings,” Harrist said.

“Because not everyone who is identified as a close contact should expect a call from a public health representative for now, we have worked to offer easy-to-understand information available to help people know what to expect and what they should do,” Harrist said.

Documents about testing positive, what to do if exposed to COVID-19, isolation and quarantine can be found from WDH at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/.

Harrist said cooperating with public health representatives and following isolation and quarantine directions remains necessary, as well as getting tested when it is recommended.

“We believe our follow up efforts, which we worked on together with our dedicated county partners, helped slow and limit the spread of the virus for many months,” Harrist said. “We will continue to pursue options to expand contract tracing resources and staff.”

Harrist said testing also remains important. Visit https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-at-home-testing/ to learn about available free at-home testing. Information about free workplace surveillance testing can be found at https://health.wyo.gov/publichealth/infectious-disease-epidemiology-unit/disease/novel-coronavirus/covid-19-at-home-testing/.