Laurel County health officials talk importance of contact tracing after surpassing 400 case mark

Health officials say it is imperative for people to be open and honest with them during the contact tracing interview.
COVID-19 cases Laurel County
COVID-19 cases Laurel County(WYMT)
Published: Aug. 6, 2020 at 1:41 PM EDT
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LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. (WYMT) - Laurel County surpassed the 400 mark for COVID-19 cases on Wednesday.

Mark Hensley, Executive Director of the Laurel County Health Department, says they continue their focus on educating people on the three W’s.

“We do have a larger population. We have a population of 60,000 and a lot of people stop in Laurel County that is traveling through our county too. So that could be a factor in it,” said Hensley. “Wearing a mask or a face covering when you were out in the public, washing your hands frequently, and watching your distance to maintain that 6 feet separation when out.”

Another part of slowing the spread throughout communities is contact tracing.

Gabriella Hodges, regional epidemiologist, says it is imperative for people to be open and honest with them during the interview.

“When we call a patient we ask and try to find out where they have been for the past two weeks. That is the incubation period for the disease but we really want to focus on two days before the patient symptoms started until the point of that interview,” said Hodges. “Based on the information the patient gives us we call those people and ask them to quarantine at home so if they have been infected they are not spreading any further.”

Hodges said the more effective the contact tracing is the more hope there is to see a decrease in cases sooner.

“Cases have spread in places of business or throughout a household when someone was not thorough in naming all of their contacts,” said Hodges. “The more people we can effectively do that with hopefully the sooner we will see a decrease in our cases.”

Hensley said there might be a positive in the situation.

“We kind of feel like it is plateauing here in Laurel County. Our case status and hopefully you know our cases and hopefully, our cases continue to do that and go down,” said Hensley.

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