Explaining how contact tracing works to limit spread of coronavirus (COVID-19)

COVID-19 outbreaks leads to possible exposure locations across Michigan

Health experts begin embracing contact tracing

DETROIT – With the number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases rising slightly in Michigan, health departments are sending out alerts about potential exposure locations.

One exposure location is Harper’s Restaurant and Brew Pub in East Lansing. Red Robin in Clinton Township has also experienced an outbreak. Most recently, cases were linked to the Playhouse in Romulus.

How did health officials trace multiple cases back to locations? They said contact tracing is vital in fighting the spread of the coronavirus.

Health officials said stopping the spread comes down to close contact without face coverings that allows droplets to infect people.

Susan Ringler-Cerniglia, of the Washtenaw County Health Department, said anyone who has symptoms of the coronavirus should pick up the phone and let authorities know. That’s when the real work begins as health departments work to call those who had close contact.

“We very much want you to answer that call, and if we leave a message, please call us back,” Ringler-Cerniglia said. “We cannot get this information and we cannot do the follow-up in any of this process if we’re not able to talk to people.”

You can call the health department to verify that any communication you receive is not a scam.

“Unfortunately, nothing has changed with the virus, and it’s still circulating,” Ringler-Cerniglia said. “We still have to be doing this work of tracing cases and alerting folks and all taking responsibility for preventing spread.”

She said contact tracing is more about learning about the disease, where it’s emanating from and how it spreads, rather than getting personal information.

About the Authors:

Rod Meloni is an Emmy Award-winning Business Editor on Local 4 News and a Certified Financial Planner™ Professional.

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.