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State of Michigan stops individual contact tracing efforts

Mufid Majnun
A coronavirus test swab.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services is shifting its efforts away from individual contact tracing.

As cases of COVID-19 continue to trend upward, officials at the state health department say they can no longer focus on contact tracing on an individual basis.

A statement from MDHHS notes many people who are contacted to alert them of a possible exposure do not respond.

Ingham County Health Officer Linda Vail says individual contact tracing with case rates this high is not realistic, especially when people can be contagious without showing symptoms.

"They don't know that they were exposed, and so there's no way for them to be contacted, that they were exposed. Meanwhile, they're exposing more people," she said.

Instead, the state health department will focus on tracking outbreaks among vulnerable populations like those in nursing homes and schools.

There are also plans for a public education campaign on what to do in the case of COVID exposure.

In Ingham County, contact tracing will continue but with a focus on tracking cases affecting the youngest and oldest members of the community.

"Right now, we have to count on the public to get vaccinated, to get boosted, to test if they have symptoms, to notify their close contacts," Vail added.

MDHHS recommends those who test positive for COVID-19 to isolate and let their close contacts know they might have been exposed.

The average number of new confirmed COVID cases in Michigan on Thursday and Friday was 16,776 per day.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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