Alabama health department says widespread coronavirus transmission is backing up timeframe for contact tracing

ADPH said it just hired an additional 200 contact tracers.

Posted: Jul 24, 2020 6:50 PM
Updated: Jul 24, 2020 6:51 PM

The WAAY 31 I-TEAM pressed the Alabama Department of Public Health for more information about contact tracing.

We learned the department doubled the number of contact tracers from 200 to 400 and the University of Alabama at Birmingham's school of public health is now involved in making calls.

We talked to one man who said he learned he had the virus more than a week ago but is still waiting for a tracer to call.

Dr. Karen Landers with the health department said she no longer has a timeline on how long it could take to hear from a contact tracer, as people with coronavirus question its effectiveness.

Eric Lindstrom said he learned he was positive for coronavirus on July 15, about a week after going to Huntsville Hospital's Fever and Flu Clinic.

"I'll be out of breath when I walk upstairs and sometimes my chest will feel like it's seizing up, like I have a straight jacket on," he said. "I tested positive. They reached out to me saying the state department would contact me with further information, and I'm still waiting on that call."

WAAY 31 asked Landers why Lindstrom is still waiting for that call.

"With widespread community transmission and the numbers we've had, it has drastically extended our time to do contact tracing," she said.

Landers wouldn't say how long it's taking, but said they want people who have the virus to take initiative to tell others they've been in contact with.

"We actually have urged people if they have another contact they're aware of outside of the household intimate partner to let that person know they are a positive COVID-19," she said.

Lindstrom told me the process seems pretty useless right now.

"It's ineffective right now. The longer they take, the greater risk of exposure for other people. People will spread the virus. Especially asymptomatic people who aren't feeling the symptoms and have no need to get tests," Lindstrom said.

He said if he's contacted, it won't be easy to determine who he was around more than two weeks ago.

"I'd have to look at bank statements or something to see where I've been," he said.

Landers said currently, the department is putting an emphasis on having contact tracers contact people who work in correction facilities, long-term care facilities or anywhere they're seeing an outbreak in less than 24 hours after they learn of the positive cases in hopes to stop more people from getting sick.

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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 134231

Reported Deaths: 2357
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson19441349
Mobile13271291
Montgomery8778179
Madison775480
Tuscaloosa7496119
Shelby584951
Lee582961
Baldwin516550
Marshall390944
Calhoun346641
Etowah342047
Morgan325428
Houston278123
Elmore263247
DeKalb239120
Walker228483
St. Clair227837
Talladega212728
Limestone206120
Cullman188519
Dallas177426
Franklin175529
Russell17442
Autauga173825
Lauderdale168233
Colbert163626
Blount159415
Escambia158425
Jackson154611
Chilton153531
Dale135444
Covington134427
Coffee13078
Pike11879
Chambers115142
Tallapoosa114685
Clarke107717
Marion95729
Butler91339
Barbour8577
Winston73712
Marengo70820
Lowndes65327
Pickens65114
Bibb64210
Randolph63713
Hale62828
Lawrence60922
Geneva5995
Bullock59814
Cherokee59115
Monroe5818
Clay5707
Washington55613
Perry5407
Conecuh53111
Crenshaw53132
Wilcox53111
Henry4865
Macon48020
Fayette4438
Sumter43419
Lamar3632
Choctaw34612
Cleburne3396
Greene30315
Coosa1673
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 187690

Reported Deaths: 2312
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby30460452
Davidson26252298
Hamilton928791
Knox918175
Rutherford915088
Williamson516536
Sumner475896
Wilson341844
Putnam320139
Montgomery302244
Out of TN296825
Unassigned29145
Bradley289317
Madison280061
Sevier257015
Blount247723
Maury230923
Washington223935
Robertson219035
Sullivan212133
Hamblen188525
Tipton178118
Trousdale16517
Gibson160922
Hardeman154826
Wayne14905
Bedford132017
Dyer131813
Dickson123515
Cumberland117518
Fayette117418
Coffee116613
Weakley115719
Anderson115312
Henderson115322
Carter114728
Obion11389
Loudon11356
Greene112943
McMinn110025
Jefferson109714
Macon103520
Warren10267
Monroe102217
Lawrence101211
Hardin100516
Lauderdale95915
Haywood95418
Franklin9518
Lake9142
Roane8724
Carroll85819
Bledsoe8494
McNairy84218
White8139
Cheatham80610
Rhea79812
Hawkins78316
Cocke7419
Marshall7415
Overton7135
Smith69810
Johnson6752
Henry6139
Chester60910
Lincoln6031
Giles58017
Hickman5585
DeKalb55213
Crockett52919
Marion5187
Decatur5037
Fentress4713
Claiborne4405
Campbell4314
Polk38210
Grainger3633
Union3471
Benton3349
Jackson3175
Morgan3113
Unicoi2831
Cannon2800
Grundy2685
Humphreys2443
Sequatchie2293
Meigs2233
Clay2205
Houston2083
Scott2072
Stewart1902
Lewis1851
Moore1641
Van Buren1600
Perry1490
Pickett1102
Hancock1063

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