Chaffee County Public Health is partnering with local health care providers to pilot an innovative contact tracing protocol as the county begins reopening. 

Participating local health care providers will begin the contact tracing process each time they perform a COVID-19 test by collecting a list of the patient’s close contacts. They will pass that information to public health staff if the test comes back positive.

This is helpful in two ways, Andrea Carlstrom, public health director and COVID-19 incident commander, said in a press release. First, talking with a health care provider about close contacts allows a chance for education about the continued importance of social distancing and quarantine when sick. 

Second, if the test does come back positive, public health staff will have a significant head start in the process of contact tracing. “By working together in this innovative way, we believe that we can adequately provide contact tracing during this pandemic,” Carlstrom said. “This has been an area of focus for our organization over the last month in preparation for the potential increase in cases as restrictions loosen.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also expanded its list of COVID-19 symptoms to include the following: fever, cough, shortness of breath/difficulty breathing, chills, repeated shaking with chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat and loss of taste or smell. 

People experiencing symptoms can look at the county’s testing guidance document available at docs.google.com/document/d/1M7EZinBDWJauGnN58SIVXVnOkacyUyFT-xUKcCn96sM/edit, and call their medical provider for a test.

Those without a medical provider can contact Public Health at 719-539-4510, and the department will help them get tested if they fit the criteria. 

Carlstrom said the county currently has adequate tests to allow anyone who has symptoms of COVID-19 to get tested.

(1) comment

Steve Eckert

I’m unclear how CCPH will have “a significant head start in the process of contract tracing” for a person who tests positive. What does the contact tracing process look like?

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