Ravalli County Public Health is moving away from universal contact tracing | Local News

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Ravalli County Public Health is choosing to follow the lead of the State of Montana and other county health officials in moving away from universal contact tracing during this current spike in COVID-19 omicron.

Like many other counties, Ravalli County Public Health is looking to transition from phone calls to automated SMS surveys. The surveys comply with HIPPA health information privacy laws and are intended to track time to onset of illness, type and duration of symptoms, and any exposures in vulnerable environments.

More information will be provided when the county completes development of this process. In the meantime, residents can continue to expect phone calls and isolation letters in the mail.

The decision to move away from universal contact tracing was based on many factors.

The latter variant has evolved to move faster among people with few or no symptoms. The highest risk of transmission usually occurs before individuals show signs or symptoms of infection. With the isolation period shortened, many people went through their isolation period before public health could make contact.

Many people use the home testing option and do not consistently report positive results to public health.

More importantly, current information has shown that vaccinated people are less likely to have serious outcomes.

CDC guidelines on isolation and quarantine for COVID-19 have not changed. We will continue to monitor the pandemic and trace contacts in certain high-risk settings.

Public Health will continue to be available to advise organizations, answer individual questions and provide time off from work or school when requested. To request a release from Public Health isolation, please email us at rcpublichealth@rc.mt.gov. Please include your name, date of birth, phone number and the date your symptoms started.

Public Health continues to encourage residents to consider getting vaccinated. Current data shows that the vaccine is safe and effective. Ravalli County has 50% of residents vaccinated and 6% partially vaccinated. More information about our department can be found at https://dphhs.mt.gov/publichealth/cdepi/diseases/CoronavirusMT/index.VVaccine is available every Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Public Health also offers offsite mobile services for people at home or businesses who wish to offer vaccination to staff on site. If interested, call 406-830-0066 to schedule.

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