Contact tracing to help control the spread of the COVID-19 virus in Delta & Menominee County


DELTA & MENOMINEE COUNTY, Mich. (WJMN) — There have been 8 lab confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Menominee County, but 0 deaths. While in Delta County, there have been 17 confirmed cases of COVID-19, many of which the patients have recovered. Unfortunately, there were 2 deaths associated with the virus.

With this uncertainty, Mike Snyder and Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties, have made a large effort to ensure the public’s safety by doing contact tracing.

“Contact tracing is done to try to control the spread of a communicable disease, such as COVID-19,” said Mike Snyder, Health Officer, Public Health Delta & Menominee Counties.

“When someone is tested positive for COVID-19, the result and contact information gets sent to the Health Department.”

Snyder said that’s typically the household contacts, work contacts, and some of their social contacts.

“We get contact information for all of those folks, contact all of them, to let them know that they have had an exposure to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, and we begin monitoring their signs and symptoms for up to 2 weeks since their last exposure.”

The Health Department contacts the patient and determines all their recent contacts they have had with anyone within 6 feet for at least 10 minutes.

“It can be a worrisome time for individuals because this COVID-19, there’s a lot of unknowns and it’s scary,” said Snyder.

“We reassure the individuals that it doesn’t mean that their positive for COVID-19 and that doing the contact tracing and limiting the amount of contacts they have from this point forward, it will help control the spread of the disease.”

By receiving the phone call, the recipient may begin to worry as the questions are ask, but Delta & Menominee County officials have been doing their best to inform and protect.

“I’ve had people contacted by our department, contact me personally, and let me know that after talking to people on our staff that they were reassured and they felt much better regarding the whole situation.”

For some, it’s hard to remember who they may or may not have come in contact with, but Snyder and his staff ask the right questions to find the important answers.

“It is difficult for people to remember back who they’ve had contact with, up to 48 hours from when they started to have signs and symptoms,” said Snyder.”

“Might be up to 10 days or longer ago, so everybody that they’ve had contact with, a lot of times, they can’t remember everyone, but through the process of contacting other individuals who they did identify, names and gatherings come up. Then we go back to the original patient and it spurs their memory, so it’s just through investigative procedures, asking the right questions, we get a pretty good list of all the people they’ve come in contact with.”

But, those who are contacted are given instructions on what they should do next.

“We ask them to watch their signs and symptoms, we contact them daily for the next 2 weeks to make sure that they don’t start having a fever or a cough, and if they do, of course we encourage them to go in and get tested right away.”

Along with businesses, Public Health Delta and Menominee Counties had to close their doors to the public.

“It’s impacted us greatly,” said Snyder.

“We suspended some of the normal services we provide, such as immunizations to the public. All of the nursing staff is doing the contact tracing for the COVID-19. We are going to look to reopening to the public starting June 1st, we’ve looked at options for the contact tracing.”

Snyder and his staff have reach out to the state health department for some assistance.

“We just don’t have the staff capable of providing all of the normal public health services, as well as doing the contact tracing for the COVID-19,” said Snyder

“One thing we have done is we’ve contacted Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, we’re partnering with them now in doing the contact tracing, so local folks that are being contacted because they had a recent exposure, maybe contacted by someone who is not a Public Health Delta and Menominee Counties employee, and is actually a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services representative to do the contact tracing.”

Snyder believes the only way to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus is to continue social distancing.

Also, by being vigilante while washing hands with soap and hot water, wear face mask coverings when out in public, and avoid large gatherings.

“It’s been publicized that it’s highly contagious,” said Snyder.

“I know the Governor has signed an executive order allowing for large gatherings up to 10 people and that is fine, but we should really avoid any larger gatherings then that.”

For access to Upper Peninsula County’s and State COVID-19 resources, click below:

Public Health, Delta & Menominee Counties, 906-786-4111
You may also receive a text message from 25051 prior to the call.

Marquette County Health Department, 906-475-9977

Western Upper Peninsula Health Department, 906-524-6142
(Baraga, Gogebic, Houghton, Keweenaw, & Ontonagon County)

LMAS Health Department 906-387-2297
(Luce, Mackinac, Alger, & Schoolcraft County)

Michigan COVID HELP, 866-860-3447

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