Surge in Minnesota COVID-19 cases causing delay in contact tracing

The surge in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota is leading to delays in timely contact tracing, according to Winona County officials.

In a release from Winona County Emergency Management, officials say the issue is happening statewide. On Friday, the state reported 6,812 new cases of COVID-19 and 68 additional deaths. This week the state broke records in single-day case counts and single-day deaths.

A contact tracer calls people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and asks questions about their exposure and close contacts. The contact tracer then calls those people, letting them know about possible COVID-19 exposure. Since some calls to those have tested positive were going unanswered, the Minnesota Department of Health launched a texting platform to text people in advance, so they can expect the call.

Due to the delay, Winona County officials are urging people who have tested positive not to wait for a phone call, but to take action in the following ways:

  • Stay home for at least 10 days since first symptoms and until you have been fever-free for at least 24 hours (without fever-reducing medicine) and symptoms have improved for 24 hours.
  • Start a list of people you had contact with beginning two days before your symptoms started to present or two days before you tested for COVID-19 to present.
  • Contact the individuals on your list to inform them that you have tested positive for COVID-19 and tell them to stay home for 14 days since they last had contact with you and to get tested.
  • Contact your employer, school, or childcare about your COVID-19 status.
  • Avoid contact with others, even those in your household.
  • Seek professional medical help, if needed.