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Investigating COVID-19 patient contact: How it’s done

ND Watch

The NDDoH discusses how investigations occur for those who test positive for COVID-19.

Once someone tests positive epidemiologists interview the patient with COVID-19. Those interviews take about an hour. Symptoms, travel and where they’ve been since they’ve become sick are all identified.

When we identify close contacts, and that’s anyone within 6 feet for a prolonged period of time for about 15 minutes and household contacts are close contacts. Also, close contacts include people who are in a car for a long period of time or working closely in an office for a prolonged period of time.

A close contact is not someone who is just in the same restaurant. A close contact includes someone who has been across a restaurant table.

The close contacts of a COVID-19 patient are then followed up with for an interview to see if they’re symptomatic. They are advised to stay home for two weeks, that’s the minimum time period from the last time they were exposed to someone with COVID-19. If they have symptoms they are referred to a healthcare professional for a test, so the healthcare facility can prepare.

The close contacts and the positive cases are both monitored. They’re monitored for 7 days from the onset of symptoms, and they must be fever free for 72 hours and feeling better. The minimum is 7 days after onset but it can be longer.

If during the investigation they discover someone was on an airplane, they notify the CDC and then the investigators have to follow up with those on the airplane. If they were in a rideshare, the investigators then have to follow up with close contacts who were in that rideshare.

The ND Department of Health asks that if you’re a close contact to someone with COVID-19 you will receive a phone call from the ND Department of Health or the local public health department notifying you that you’re a close contact. They will notify you of what steps you need to take next.

The Department of Health is trying to clear up rumors about places that cases have been. They say they will notify you if you’re a close contact to a COVID-19 case. They will work with schools and daycares.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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