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Case investigators work to keep up with increase in positive cases

Case investigators are the people who reach out to those who test positive and give them guidelines on quarantine and isolation requirements, followed by contact tracing. These people are overloaded with cases right now, causing delays.
Published: Jan. 19, 2022 at 10:30 PM MST|Updated: Jan. 19, 2022 at 10:31 PM MST
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KJCT) - Positive Covid-19 cases in Mesa County are still surging, with a single day count of 465 reported Tuesday.

Case investigators are the people who reach out to those who test positive and give them guidelines on quarantine and isolation requirements, followed by contact tracing. These people are overloaded with cases right now, causing some delays.

Case investigators began sending out letters in November to those who tested positive but couldn’t be reached by phone due to the case volume.

“It’s just not possible right now to get everybody,” said Disease Surveillance Specialist Madeline Weickert. “So the trade off is they don’t get an in person call, but they get the information a soon as we can send it out. So we have some triaging in place to try and get to the cases who are most vulnerable, and then we send letters to everybody we know we can’t reach within a given day.”

Heath officials say to stay home if you’re experiencing any illness.

“Because of the volume of cases we’ve been seeing in the past several weeks, there may be a delay in case investigation,” said Mesa County Public Health Spokesperson Stefany Busch. “So don’t wait to hear from someone from Mesa County Public Health to take action on either quarantine or isolation.”

The good news is people can still view their results in two to four days directly from the lab after getting tested for Covid-19. The health department created an online tool to calculate quarantine and isolation time while waiting on a call or letter from a case investigator.

“What this calculator does is it gives you individualized quarantine and isolation guidance depending on things like vaccination status and symptoms,” said Stefany Busch. “It will calculate the dates for you depending on what you enter as your test or exposure date.”

There are currently 28 case investigators with the Mesa County Health Department and they are currently accepting applications. However, based on other communities data, the surge in Omicron cases is expected to plateau in the coming weeks. So investigators are hopeful the online quarantine tool will help them get past this current surge.

To find the tool, visit https://health.mesacounty.us/covid19/ and scroll to the bottom where it says, “Isolation and Quarantine Calculator” under “How long should I stay away from others?”

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