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First District Health Unit handles workload of contact tracing



MINOT, N.D. – Recently the North Dakota Department of Health announced six positive COVID-19 cases in Ward County.

The sudden spike means more work for First District Health Unit which is tasked with using contact tracing to track who they might have been in contact with.

First District is working to call or email anyone who has been in contact with one of the six people who tested positive for COVID-19.

“They vary from being a simple straight forward case to a very complicated case that may have many contacts,” said Linda Larson, a Field Epidemiologist with the North Dakota Department of Health.

According to the CDC, healthcare workers must identify any individual within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes, reach out to them, and get them tested for the coronavirus, which Larson said is not always an easy task.

“The close contacts have to be quarantined for 14 days, and there have been some people that aren’t willing to work with us regarding that 14 day quarantine period,” said Larson.

Larson said the 14 days is not mandatory but holds significance.

“It is a very important period of time, because what happens is you can develop symptoms anywhere between day one and day 14,” said Larson.

It is also strongly recommended that any close contacts get tested for the coronavirus.

For the latest information on positive COVID cases visit the North Dakota Department of Health website.