Monroe County implements crisis standards of care for COVID-19 tracing

SPARTA, Wis. (WKBT) — The Monroe County Health Department has reached its capacity for contact tracing of COVID-19 as the case numbers reach record highs.

The department has implemented the Wisconsin Department of Health Services’ crisis standards to help deal with the workload.

Under ideal circumstances, all identified close contacts of a case are notified, asked to actively monitor for symptoms and remain in quarantine for 14 days following their last exposure to a confirmed COVID-19 case. Under the crisis standards of practice, health departments are allowed to implement modifications for contact tracing efforts in notifying and monitoring contacts of cases when resources are constrained.

Monroe County Health Department is now prioritizing contacting COVID-19 contacts at highest risk. It is important that the public is aware that some contacts may not receive a phone call at this time.

Confirmed cases should personally notify anyone they have had close contact with about their positive test result and direct their contacts to quarantine for 14 days from their last contact. This notification should be shared with any person in contact with the positive case while they had symptoms AND during the 48 hours before symptoms developed. For positive cases without symptoms, they should notify anyone they had close contact with 2 days prior to their test date as well as any contact within the 10 days following their test date.

Close contacts are defined as those who:

  • Had direct physical contact with a confirmed positive case (for example, a hug, kiss, or
    handshake).
  • Were within 6 feet of a confirmed positive case for a total of more than 15 minutes in a
    single day (includes a single encounter or multiple encounters within a single day adding
    up to 15 minutes or more).
  • Had contact with a confirmed positive case’s respiratory secretions (for example,
    coughed or sneezed on; contact with a dirty tissue; shared a drinking glass, food, towels,
    or other personal items).
  • Live with the confirmed positive case or stayed overnight for at least one night in a house
    with that person.

For information on quarantine, Monroe County Health Department has created a webpage with quarantine information and commonly asked questions http://healthymonroecowi.org/quarantine. Those who have been notified to quarantine and need a letter or documentation can request one electronically through this webpage: www.healthymonroecowi.org/COVID19

For questions or concerns, the public may contact Monroe County Health Department at 608-269-8666. Please note that due to the high volume of calls and staff workload, members of the public may have to leave a message. The health department aims to return calls within 24 hours.