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: 100801

Reported Deaths: 1814
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson13366246
Mobile10581212
Montgomery6825151
Madison546934
Tuscaloosa426979
Unassigned392566
Baldwin367029
Shelby333437
Marshall319438
Lee270847
Morgan241819
Etowah218034
DeKalb183414
Calhoun181918
Elmore176039
Walker154465
Houston142813
Russell13892
St. Clair136320
Limestone135913
Dallas133624
Franklin129722
Cullman123012
Colbert121517
Lauderdale119020
Autauga116222
Escambia108817
Talladega105414
Jackson10264
Tallapoosa87579
Chambers84738
Dale84329
Clarke82610
Chilton8189
Blount8165
Butler77036
Coffee7656
Covington74021
Pike7137
Marion58226
Barbour5796
Lowndes57124
Marengo56616
Hale48526
Bullock48111
Winston45711
Perry4454
Bibb4445
Washington44412
Wilcox43410
Monroe4236
Pickens4089
Randolph40211
Conecuh39310
Sumter36618
Lawrence3542
Macon33914
Crenshaw3326
Choctaw28912
Cherokee2768
Clay2675
Geneva2652
Henry2643
Greene25211
Lamar2302
Fayette2235
Cleburne1291
Coosa1053
Out of AL00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 124915

Reported Deaths: 1271
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Shelby23625314
Davidson20865219
Rutherford662955
Hamilton631555
Knox475040
Williamson360725
Sumner347373
Unassigned31173
Out of TN295216
Wilson233923
Bradley199115
Montgomery198614
Sevier19029
Putnam180018
Trousdale15836
Robertson157820
Hamblen142016
Blount132412
Washington12912
Maury12847
Tipton121710
Madison118920
Sullivan104815
Hardeman94218
Bedford93011
Macon86713
Lake7940
Loudon7543
Gibson7357
Bledsoe7162
Dickson7052
Fayette7048
Anderson6986
Dyer6688
Henderson6133
Cheatham6018
Obion5884
Jefferson5874
Lawrence5847
McMinn55920
Coffee5583
Rhea5442
Warren5404
Carter5326
Lauderdale5229
Haywood5107
Greene5049
Roane4882
Hawkins4859
Cocke4824
Weakley4824
Hardin4798
Cumberland4636
Smith4584
Monroe4519
McNairy3886
Giles38713
DeKalb3662
Franklin3384
Carroll3303
Lincoln3151
Marshall3054
Henry2990
White2945
Johnson2880
Claiborne2770
Crockett2745
Hickman2720
Campbell2541
Wayne2292
Marion2285
Chester2252
Decatur2153
Polk2133
Overton2091
Grainger2040
Unicoi1680
Union1620
Benton1581
Cannon1540
Jackson1301
Humphreys1293
Morgan1271
Scott1241
Grundy1182
Sequatchie1131
Meigs1080
Fentress960
Hancock812
Perry810
Stewart790
Clay790
Lewis741
Houston610
Moore600
Pickett391
Van Buren360

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