Contact tracing is a key strategy to contain the spread of any communicable disease. Up until now, Public Health – Dayton & Montgomery County has conducted all components of contact tracing including the case interview as well as directly notifying close contacts of those individuals who are positive for COVID-19. Unfortunately, the number of new COVID-19 cases continues to rise at an alarming rate in Montgomery County and throughout Ohio. Like many local health departments across the state, the surge of cases is straining the capacity of Public Health to timely conduct all aspects of contact tracing. Our public health investigators, epidemiologists, and public health nurses are working tirelessly, seven days a week to keep up. However, the rate of increase of new cases has caused us to temporarily reevaluate how we will be conducting contact tracing for the foreseeable future.
In alignment with state guidance, to best use our available resources and most effectively minimize the community spread of COVID-19, Public Health will temporarily focus exclusively on conducting the first part of contact tracing: interviews with cases (or guardians as appropriate) of COVID-19. As Public Health completes those interviews, we will provide guidance for them to identify and notify their close contacts. Additionally, Public Health will be providing guidance to all sectors, including employers, schools and daycare centers to assist with identification of close contacts, which will include instruction to exclude close contacts for 14 days and allow return to work, after the 14 days, without quarantine letters from Public Health.
I Feel Sick
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
Separate yourself from other people as much as possible, stay in a specific room and away from other people and pets in your home. If possible, you should use a separate bathroom. If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask and try to maintain a 6-foot distance as much as possible.
If you do have COVID-19, most people have a mild illness and can recover at home without medical care. It is important that you stay home for 10 days after symptoms appear AND until it has been 24 hours since you have had a fever (without the use of fever-reducing medications).
Take care of yourself.
Get rest and stay hydrated. Take over-the-counter medicines, such as acetaminophen, to help you feel better.
Avoid the following:
- Public transportation, ridesharing, or taxis
- Do not go to work or school
Call your doctor to see if you should get tested or go to one of the many testing sites available around the state.
Be sure to stay in touch with your doctor. Call before you get medical care. If you have trouble breathing or have severe symptoms, call 911.
I Tested Positive
If you tested positive for COVID-19, you should not wait to hear from the health department. Immediately follow the guidance as described below.Stay home except to get medical care
- Monitor your symptoms. If you have an emergency warning sign (including trouble breathing), seek emergency medical care immediately
- Stay in a separate room from other household members, if possible
- Use a separate bathroom, if possible
- Avoid contact with other members of the household and pets
- Don’t share personal household items, like cups, towels, and utensils
- Wear a mask when around other people, if you are able to
Identify and Notify Your Close Contacts
Tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect everyone. You can contact them by using tellyourcontacts.org.
More information is available on the CDC’s website on the steps to take to prevent the spread of COVID-19 if you are sick
I Am A Close Contact
Those that have been identified as a contact to an individual diagnosed with COVID-19:
- A 14-day quarantine time remains the standard with the best chance of interrupting transmission and controlling the spread of the virus.
- For people who cannot complete 14 days of quarantine, quarantine can end after 10 days without a test for people who have not had any symptoms during those 10 days.
- The test alternative allows quarantine to end after seven days when people have a negative test result and have had no symptoms during those seven days. The test should be within 48 hours of when the quarantine is planned to end (i.e., testing no earlier than the fifth day).