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COVID surge puts contact tracing behind

BROWN COUNTY — Brown County Public Health (BCPH) asks people who test positive for COVID-19 to begin 10-day isolation the day symptoms begin, in a Nov. 29 Facebook post.

“If you have no symptoms, islation begins the day you are tested,” read the post. “Notify those that you had close contact with during your infectious period, two days before symptoms begin. If no symptoms, this begins two days before the postive test.”

In addition, the post asks individuals in close contact with a positive case during their infectious period to quarantine 14 days from their last, close contact with the infected individual.

Close contact was defined as less than six feet for longer than 15 minutes (cumulative in 24 hours).

“Due to the overwhelming positive COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, case investigations and contact tracing teams are not able to keep up to capacity,” read the post. “If you are positive, it possible, even likely, that you will not receive a call during this (COVID) surge. Do not wait for a call.”

Moritz said there were 41 new COVID cases and two probable cases in Brown County in the BCPH update. The ages of those with COVID cases range in age from their teens to their 90s. No new deaths were reported.

There were 49 new COVID cases and 39 hospitalizations in Brown County Nov. 29, raising the total number of confirmed cases to 1,413. A total of 1,101 cases are out of isolation, according to the BCPH Facebook update.

As of Nov. 29, there have been 15 COVID-related deaths in Brown County.

“We can’t get everybody called,” said BCPH Director Karen Moritz. “We’re prioritizing calls. We send text messages first, then call people who test positive.”

Moritz said public health is seeing new COVID cases coming from family and larger community events.

“We aren’t seeing any patterns. They’re all over the board. I don’t know how people couldn’t think this is real,” Moritz said. “If you don’t believe it, ask anybody who has had it. It’s not a joke. From Nov. 1-29, Brown County had 1,083 new cases.”

Renville County Public Health reported 900 cumulative cases to date, 386 active cases, up from 335 the previous week, and 29 cumulative deaths on Nov. 30.

The Renville County COVID-19 dashboard showed 900 new November cases, 168 cases in Fairfax, 150 in Olivia, 131 in Renville, Hector 87, Franklin 68, Sacred Heart and Bird Island 63, Buffalo Lake 58, Morton 51, and Danube 42.

Fritz Busch can be emailed at fbusch@nujournal.com.

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