Health officials provide update after contact tracing halted

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Contact tracing for COVID-19 cases is just one of the tools officials have been using to track the spread of the virus since the pandemic began nearly two years ago. . Linn and Johnson County stopped tracing contracts more than two weeks ago due to rising omicron cases.

Jarvis stresses the importance of continuing to use the layered approach when it comes to limiting the spread of COVID-19.

While contact tracing was one of those layers, staying home when you’re sick, getting your shot and booster, and masking up are all the other layers you can keep using.

Although they are no longer tracing contacts, Sam Jarvis, community health officer for Johnson County Public Health, said if you test positive for COVID, or think you may have been exposed, their team Contact tracing now provides additional assistance to help you answer all your questions. can I have.

Jarvis added that with the spike in cases and now more home testing, they simply weren’t able to keep up with contact tracing.

“With the increased capacity for free rapid tests at home or rapid tests in general, which are not reported, we would probably start to lose a sense of what community transmission really would be. And so that would probably impact contact tracing as well,” Jarvis said.

UnityPoint Health St. Luke’s executives said they are seeing a steady number of COVID patients arriving.

“The good news is that it has been stable for the past two weeks where cases in the county are increasing. So this may confirm in our little world here that the omicron variant is not causing the hospitalizations that delta has caused,” said Dr. Dustin Arnold, UnityPoint Health – St. Luke’s Chief Medical Officer.

Omicron’s high transmissibility is causing staffing shortages at Mercy Medical Center in Cedar Rapids, which has affected some hospital functions.

“At the hospital, we have essential functions that we must perform to care for patients. And some things can be pushed back or delayed. And that’s what we do. Internally, we need to have critical care capability. We need to have medical surgery beds available for people who need them right away,” said Dr. Tony Myers, vice president of system quality risk and medical affairs at Mercy Medical Center.

Saint Luke’s and Mercy have halted non-essential surgeries since mid-December. With the pressure on hospitals, they don’t know when these procedures will be able to resume.

And if you have COVID-19 – you don’t have to wait 90 days to get your shot…that goes for boosters too.

Dr. Myers and Dr. Arnold both said that once you feel better, you can get vaccinated. The same goes for the flu vaccine or other vaccines.

“Very early on there was this recommendation and there was a recommendation that you shouldn’t bother getting another vaccine. That you should wait a few weeks between them. These were to be due to uncertainty about its effectiveness. But clearly now we know as soon as you get better, what I tell my patients is, they feel better, wait a week, go for it,” Dr. Myers said.

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