The Saginaw County Health Department is changing the way it investigates cases of COVID-19 due to the recent surge in positive cases locally, statewide and across the country. Saginaw County has recorded nearly 1,200 new cases in the past 14 days and 368 cases this past weekend alone. SCHD officials said even working at full capacity, staff members are unable to investigate all positive cases and notify close contacts quickly.
“If you test positive for COVID-19, you may not get a phone call from the health department anymore,” explains Chris Harrington, MPH, health officer. “We are handling anywhere between 70 to 170 new cases each day – compared with 7 cases per day over the summer. That’s why we need everyone’s help to follow isolation and quarantine precautions and to begin using an online self-reporting form.”
The new self-reporting form is available at www.saginawpublichealth.org. The information provided on the form gives the health department what it needs to complete each case in the Michigan Disease Surveillance System. Up until now, that information was gathered over the phone. Filling out the online form versus having a lengthy phone call from investigators will be simpler and easier for both the public and health department staff, Harrington explains. Filling out the form is REQUIRED for those who want or need an isolation or quarantine letter for their employer.
Here is what the health department is asking Saginaw County residents to do:
The Saginaw County Health Dept. said this new procedure for case investigations and contact tracing will also help them prioritize investigations on outbreaks in schools, businesses, and in vulnerable populations. Therefore, it is REQUIRED that businesses and schools continue to use the online reporting forms already established for them. This will trigger an investigation if an outbreak is occurring, along with support from the health department on cleaning, sanitizing and other mitigation strategies.