CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — As of Monday morning, the state of West Virginia has 27,607 active COVID-19 cases. Health departments say it is very important to cooperate in contact tracing right now.
“We actually increased our contact tracing workforce so that we’re able to accommodate the surge that we’re seeing right now in COVID cases,” said Hannah Petracca, Cabell-Huntington Health Department.
Contact tracing originally started being used in the first COVID surge, but it hasn’t gone away. In fact, health departments say it’s being taken more seriously since this second surge. Contact tracing is when someone tests positive and is contacted by a case investigator. From there, the investigator contacts anyone who may have interacted with the sick person.
“There’s two crazy terms. One’s called isolation and that’s people who had the virus, and we have one called quarantine and those are the close contacts of that positive person,” said Stanley Mills, Kanawha-Charleston Health Department.
Mills says the length of quarantine can vary depending on if you’re vaccinated and now showing symptoms, but the quarantine always starts with the last contact you had with a positive patient.
“We’re figuring up to 12 more weeks of this, maybe longer. With the contact tracing of students, I know it’s frustrating sometimes to parents and friends that they have to quarantine, but the only way we’re going to stop this is to stop the exposures or get people vaccinated,” said Mills.
Local health departments recommend you answer a call you may not recognize for the purpose of contact tracing.
“We encourage everyone to be honest when talking about their close contacts, not to disclose any of their personal information to those close contacts, but just to eliminate the spread and mitigate it as much as possible,” said Petracca.
According to the most recent COVID numbers, West Virginia continues to experience the fastest acceleration of cases in the nation.