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Washtenaw County: Quarantine immediately if you suspect COVID-19 symptoms, exposure

Health Department cannot keep up with contact tracing

Doctors: You might not have fever, but you could still have coronavirus
Doctors: You might not have fever, but you could still have coronavirus

ANN ARBOR – Due to an exponential growth in COVID-19 cases in the area, the Washtenaw County Health Department announced Thursday that it is now experiencing delays in contact tracing calls and emails.

“Don’t wait for a call from the Health Department," Jimena Loveluck, health officer for Washtenaw County Health Department, said in a statement. “At this point, we all know we should be staying away from others if you tested positive, have symptoms, are waiting on test results, or are a close contact.

“With the surge in cases and related hospitalizations, we cannot get to all situations as quickly as we’d like. We can still prevent additional cases, protect everyone’s health, and preserve resources as much as possible by following established public health guidance for isolation or quarantine, depending on your situation. We are also continually monitoring, adjusting our priorities. and working to expand our capacity as much as possible.”

As of Nov. 10, a total of 6,885 confirmed and probable COVID-19 cases were reported in Washtenaw County, and 133 new confirmed cases and 9 hospitalizations were recorded in 24 hours.

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Over the past week, the average number of new daily cases in Washtenaw County was 97, compared to the second week of October when it was 35 per day.

Additionally, most of the current cases are no longer associated with students or young adults and are countywide. The Health Department is in close collaboration with university officials to follow up on cases among students.

If you are positive or have symptoms, the Health Department says to isolate yourself for 10 days. If you have come into close contact with someone who has tested positive, the guidelines recommend to quarantine for 14 days.

The following are currently being prioritized by Washtenaw County Health Department case investigators:

  • Individuals age 0-17 years
  • Individuals age 60 years and above
  • Individuals living in local zip codes 48197 and 48198
  • Individuals residing in high-risk congregate settings such as long-term care facilities
  • Individuals of any age who are at higher risk of severe illness or complications

The Health Department will contact prioritized cases as soon as possible upon the receipt of the test result.

All other residents who receive a positive test should follow established guidance and will be contacted as capacity allows. Those who are not contacted promptly or at all are urged to continue self-isolating or quarantining according to the latest guidelines.

More COVID-19 information from the Washtenaw County Health Department’s website:

If you tested positive or have symptoms

If you test positive for COVID-19, isolate for a minimum of 10 days from the start of your symptoms or your positive test date if you didn’t have symptoms. Notify your close contacts that they may have been exposed. A close contact is someone who has been within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 total minutes with or without a face covering. A person is considered contagious 2 days before their symptoms start or before their positive test if they do not have symptoms.

If you are a close contact (exposed)

Close contacts should quarantine for 14 days. If you are exposed but do not have symptoms, please wait at least 5 days before testing, and remember that a negative test does NOT eliminate the need to quarantine for the full 14 days. Isolation or quarantine requires staying away from others and out of public places, except if seeking medical care or testing.

Workplaces

The Health Department will continue to assist businesses and workplaces with COVID-19 related questions and positive employees as capacity allows. This includes prioritizing those situations or clusters that may be of greater concern because of their size, setting or impact on more vulnerable individuals. Do not wait for the Health Department to contact your business or organization to act. See guidance for workplaces.

Testing

Testing is available at multiple locations and though various providers. With the current surge in cases across Michigan and the U.S. test results may be delayed. If your results take longer, please continue to isolate yourself while you wait for results.

The Health Department continues to work with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and HONU Management Group to provide accessible, drive-thru testing at no additional cost. The next pop-up testing opportunities are scheduled for Sat, Nov 14 at the Ypsilanti District Library at 5577 Whittaker Road and Sat, Nov 21 at Washtenaw County Health Department at 555 Towner Street.

Both events are 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Drive-thru or walk-up

No-cost with or without insurance

Testing is available with or without symptoms

Pre-register for Nov 14 or Nov 21 and arrive any time between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Prevention

The virus that causes COVID-19 continues to circulate locally. Risk of exposure is present whenever you are out in public or having any direct contact with others. To reduce the spread of illness, the Health Department recommends wearing a face covering, maintaining 6 feet distance from others not in your household, cleaning hands frequently, and avoiding others if you have any symptoms.

These prevention strategies are most effective when combined. Using them remains vital to slowing the spread of illness and preventing as many cases of COVID-19 as possible – especially as the weather becomes colder, more activities are indoors, and flu may begin to circulate locally.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) has also issued guidance for holiday activities and travel during COVID-19.

Local COVID-19 information is available at www.washtenaw.org/covid19.

Health Department staff are available to answer questions. Call 734-544-6700 or email L-wchdcontact@washtenaw.org.

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