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: 102196

Reported Deaths: 1825
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13682262
Mobile10836223
Montgomery7009153
Madison558135
Tuscaloosa437880
Unassigned411368
Baldwin379129
Shelby341437
Marshall321438
Lee273547
Morgan245720
Etowah221934
DeKalb187014
Calhoun186719
Elmore178939
Walker158466
Houston149313
Limestone140713
Russell13982
St. Clair138820
Dallas134925
Franklin131522
Cullman125212
Colbert124318
Lauderdale121920
Autauga119622
Talladega110314
Escambia109917
Jackson10914
Tallapoosa88379
Dale86329
Chambers85238
Blount8485
Chilton8439
Clarke83010
Coffee7926
Butler77936
Covington76321
Pike7187
Marion59426
Barbour5906
Marengo57817
Lowndes57624
Bullock49411
Hale49026
Bibb4655
Washington46113
Winston45911
Perry4524
Wilcox44510
Monroe4276
Pickens42010
Randolph40511
Conecuh39810
Sumter37119
Lawrence3643
Macon34415
Crenshaw3398
Cherokee2938
Choctaw29212
Clay2785
Geneva2742
Henry2733
Greene25611
Lamar2372
Fayette2345
Cleburne1311
Coosa1063
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 130458

Reported Deaths: 1326
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby24251321
Davidson21528221
Rutherford693857
Hamilton660558
Knox505141
Williamson374125
Sumner358174
Unassigned31223
Out of TN299320
Wilson243423
Bradley210215
Montgomery208515
Sevier19899
Putnam193220
Robertson161621
Trousdale15836
Hamblen147615
Blount141415
Washington13912
Maury13679
Madison128223
Tipton124712
Sullivan113616
Hardeman102718
Bedford96211
Macon87413
Lake8000
Loudon7883
Gibson7879
Dickson7574
Fayette7448
Anderson7437
Bledsoe7342
Dyer7159
Henderson6612
Jefferson6394
Obion6394
Cheatham6249
Lawrence6197
Carter6026
Coffee5943
McMinn59120
Warren5874
Haywood5817
Rhea5742
Greene5619
Weakley5575
Lauderdale5529
Hawkins53410
Cumberland5307
Cocke5255
Roane5162
Hardin4998
Monroe47910
Smith4764
McNairy4106
Giles40213
DeKalb3842
Carroll3796
Franklin3634
Marshall3364
Lincoln3351
White3275
Johnson3190
Henry3161
Claiborne3010
Crockett2946
Hickman2921
Campbell2641
Chester2512
Overton2501
Marion2405
Polk2375
Decatur2343
Wayne2322
Grainger2171
Unicoi1800
Benton1791
Union1700
Cannon1600
Jackson1451
Humphreys1353
Morgan1351
Scott1342
Grundy1262
Sequatchie1171
Meigs1150
Fentress1060
Clay860
Perry860
Hancock842
Lewis811
Stewart810
Moore740
Houston630
Van Buren430
Pickett401

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