Richmond, KY - The Madison County Health Department (MCHD) reported the highest one-day total of 144 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of Nov. 16. This more than doubled the previous highest one-day case count of 71 on Aug. 27.

This surge in cases has placed a strain on public health resources needed to effectively contain the spread of this disease, and MCHD will be modifying their contact tracing efforts accordingly.

“No local health department can keep up the pace along with the increasing number of cases and contacts,” said Madison County Health Department Director Nancy Crewe. “Even with addition of more contact tracers and disease investigators to our team, the numbers of cases are growing at such a rate as to overwhelm our capabilities. Accordingly, MCHD is adjusting our priorities for case investigations and contact tracing in line with guidance issued by the Kentucky Department for Public Health.”

This adjustment means that contact tracers at the health department will focus contact tracing efforts on healthcare workers, first responders, vulnerable populations, persons in congregate settings and event exposures.

For newly identified COVID-19 cases, this means that if you are called by the health department you will be asked to notify any close contacts you have that do not meet the criteria listed above.

As always, MCHD will continue to work with community partners and local employers regarding guidance on quarantine.

Rapidly identifying and isolating confirmed cases remains top priority for MCHD to mitigate the spread. However, as cases continue to accelerate, there may be a delay between the time a person is notified of a positive result and the issuance of an isolation order from MCHD. Individuals should not wait on a call from the health department to begin isolating or quarantining at home.

According to Crewe, all Madison Countians should assume they are at heightened risk of COVID-19 exposure, and everyone must practice all the everyday prevention measures listed below:

• Wear a face mask in public

• Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.

• Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet between yourself and other people

• Avoid large gatherings and crowded places.

• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.

• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue or your elbow, not with your hands.

• Disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a household cleaning spray or wipe.

For more information about COVID-19, visit these links: www.madisoncountyhealthdept.org, www.kycovid19.ky.gov, and www.cdc.gov.

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