The Barren River District Health Department said Tuesday it will no longer conduct contact tracing for COVID-19 cases, citing resources stretched thin by the spike in cases statewide.
In a news release, BRDHD said “public health resources across the state are strained due to the overwhelming number of cases of COVID-19. With disease incidence so high it exceeds public health system capacity, Barren River District Health Department must adapt and direct resources to continue efforts to mitigate the virus’ unrestrained spread. Rapidly identifying and isolating confirmed cases remains the highest priority. Therefore, BRDHD will no longer be conducting contact tracing and issuing quarantine orders on individuals exposed to COVID-19. This change does not eliminate the fact that all individuals exposed to COVID-19 must still quarantine.”
The health department said in the release that it will count on individuals to self-quarantine when needed.
“BRDHD will enlist the participation of new cases of COVID-19 to notify all family, friends, co-workers and others who may meet exposure criteria to self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, due to overwhelming number of cases and strained resources, there is a delay between cases receiving their positive test result and being contacted by the health department. Individuals should not wait on a call from the health department to begin self-isolating or self-quarantining at home,” according to the release.
In a news release Tuesday, Gov. Andy Beshear said cases are increasing rapidly in the state and “families, schools, businesses and community leaders should all come together and do their part.”
The state reported 2,931 new COVID-19 cases Tuesday and 33 deaths.
Dr. Steven Stack, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said COVID-19 is expected to be the nation’s third-leading cause of death in 2020 behind heart disease and cancer.
“This is not political. We are trying to keep people safe from a once-in-a-century pandemic,” Stack said in a news release. “If your neighbor’s house is burning down, are you going to stand idly by, or are you going to try to rescue them from the fire? I am confident that if we come together we can interrupt this third climb, but it’s got to be Team Kentucky pulling together.”
– Follow Managing Editor Wes Swietek on Twitter @WesSwietek or visit bgdailynews.com.