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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

Cases: 249524

Reported Deaths: 3578
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson33064500
Mobile19951362
Madison13596148
Tuscaloosa13246154
Montgomery12435236
Shelby1061677
Baldwin889098
Lee781466
Morgan686150
Etowah643966
Calhoun6430121
Marshall635355
Houston537738
DeKalb492236
Cullman451542
Limestone433345
St. Clair432555
Lauderdale422354
Elmore412964
Walker3710111
Talladega359354
Jackson329823
Colbert329642
Blount299740
Autauga278042
Franklin256434
Coffee248315
Dale236254
Chilton227438
Dallas226832
Russell22383
Covington220434
Escambia198931
Tallapoosa184391
Chambers177950
Pike159914
Clarke159819
Marion143636
Winston135123
Lawrence131636
Pickens125718
Geneva12438
Marengo123124
Bibb119617
Barbour117811
Butler117842
Randolph104921
Cherokee103424
Hale97831
Fayette92516
Washington92219
Clay92024
Henry8756
Lowndes80229
Monroe79011
Cleburne77814
Macon74522
Crenshaw72030
Bullock70219
Perry6906
Lamar6898
Conecuh68814
Wilcox64218
Sumter58622
Greene42818
Choctaw42713
Coosa3544
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 374493

Reported Deaths: 4602
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby48561673
Davidson43546421
Knox19358150
Rutherford18248163
Hamilton17311153
Williamson1168080
Sumner10123137
Out of TN811056
Wilson777980
Montgomery691585
Sullivan6641101
Washington6272108
Maury610667
Putnam600982
Blount575261
Bradley546935
Madison5445111
Sevier512133
Unassigned488822
Robertson389553
Tipton375339
Hamblen360761
Gibson332065
Dyer325451
Greene324872
Anderson310729
Dickson300434
Coffee288642
Carter286057
Bedford285132
Lawrence276134
Obion271751
McMinn267955
Cumberland266536
Roane243929
Warren243120
Jefferson236533
Loudon234819
Fayette230239
Hardeman227837
Monroe223244
Weakley221737
Franklin217935
Lauderdale208023
Hawkins204034
Wayne194610
Trousdale191512
Henderson190134
Macon186028
White180818
Rhea180132
Hardin180025
Marshall179622
Carroll178534
Lincoln166217
Haywood165830
Cheatham165317
Cocke165330
Campbell160323
Henry159319
Overton156435
Giles150249
Smith147720
Johnson144923
McNairy142433
Fentress124420
Hickman121619
DeKalb120422
Bledsoe11895
Lake11786
Crockett117126
Marion112219
Scott11197
Grainger105017
Chester104221
Decatur96112
Unicoi90226
Claiborne8979
Benton84214
Grundy79214
Cannon7864
Lewis77714
Morgan7626
Humphreys7418
Union7375
Jackson69410
Polk69415
Stewart61015
Houston59220
Clay56018
Sequatchie5465
Meigs51013
Perry49221
Moore4043
Pickett39513
Van Buren3792
Hancock1833

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