LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – There have been 22,136 new cases of COVID-19 in Arkansas since Jan. 1.
The number of cases, over time, makes contact tracing very difficult to track. So the Department of Health will no longer conduct research for adults in Arkansas and will focus only on school-aged children.
ADH’s Dr Jennifer Dillaha said trying to track the number of cases right now is impractical.
“It is not possible for contact tracers to scale up and hire new people so quickly. By the time that happens, we may be on the downside of that peak,” she said.
She said she hopes the effort to find contact with children will allow schools to stay open and the fact is that 18 and under are still one of the most sensitive age groups.
“One of the most vulnerable groups is children who cannot yet be vaccinated as well as those who have not had the opportunity to be fully vaccinated,” explained Dr Dillaha.
With the resumption of schools after the holidays, there has not yet been an increase in omicron cases in these age groups.
“We anticipate that we will see a large increase in the number of infected students after the start of the school year,” warned Dr Dillaha.
The responsibility to be safe and to inform those who may have been exposed now falls on the general public and businesses. Dr. Dillaha recommends that businesses be up to date on all CDC guidance on what to do if exposed or positive.
She said the public is well aware of how to protect themselves from spreading and contracting the virus and action is needed now more than ever.
ADH will reassess its contact tracing policy in the future.