Over the last month, the 7-day average of COVID-19 cases in Berrien County has jumped nearly fivefold, from about 16 per week to almost 77. That increase has led the health department to ask certain groups to conduct their own contact tracing.
Berrien County Health Department spokesperson Gillian Conrad said the department is prioritizing case investigation for high-risk groups: that’s adults 65 years of age and older, people with underlying medical conditions and people in congregate living environments, like nursing homes.
It’s also prioritizing children under the age of 18, especially those who still attend school in-person.
Conrad said the department is asking others who test positive to notify their own close contacts and instruct them to quarantine for 14 days.
“Think about the people who you were within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes during that 48-hour period before you started to show symptoms," Conrad said. "Those individuals are your close contacts.”
Conrad said community members can also limit transmission – before anyone tests positive – by keeping their close-contact lists short.
“We are urging people to fight through whatever COVID fatigue they may be feeling by making sure they’re limiting the amount of contact they’re having with other people,” Conrad said.
Limiting contact will be especially important, she said, as people begin to gather for the holiday season.
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