JACKSON, MI — Numbers of new positive COVID-19 cases reported to the Jackson County Health Department significantly increased in October, and the health department is now asking for the public’s help.
According to a release from the health department, its efforts to contain potential COVID-19 outbreaks will focus on case investigation and contact tracing in nursing homes, hospitals, and schools as well as clusters identified as a priority such as in high risk congregate settings. The health department will also continue to assist businesses with COVID-19 related issues, the release said.
Recent cases have reported numerous close contacts, making contact tracing efforts difficult to sustain, the release said. Even with assistance from partner organizations, capacity for contact tracing has been reached, and some individuals and their close contacts may not receive a phone call from the health department, according to the release.
Pamela Hackett, medical director of JCHD, said steps people should take to keep themselves and their families safe are the same — social distancing, mask wearing and avoiding large indoor gatherings.
“In this time of increasing cases contacting everyone quickly is not always possible. We are asking for people to be ready to take additional actions of their own if they test positive for COVID-19. Isolating and notifying contacts are critical to containing the spread within our community. By working together, we can succeed,” Hackett said.
As of Oct. 30, Jackson County has had 1,917 cumulative COVID-19 cases with 67 deaths and 1,117 recoveries. Between Oct. 17-24, the county had a seven-day average of 176.65 cases per million, putting the county in Level E, which is the highest category of risk, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.
According to the health department, individuals who test positive for COVID-19 should do the following:
- Isolate for 10 days: Individuals need to isolate for 10 days from the onset of symptoms or 10 days from the day a positive test sample was collected if they don’t have symptoms. After 10 days, if your symptoms have improved, and you are fever free without the use of medications, it is ok to return to normal activities. If you are still feeling sick, please consult with a medical professional as some people can be contagious for a longer period.
- Notify all of your close contacts and ask that they quarantine: a close contact includes those that you have been within 6 ft. of for more than a total of 15 minutes any day you were contagious which may start two days before symptoms begin.
- Close contacts need to self-quarantine for 14 days from their last contact to you while you were considered contagious and monitor for symptoms. If they develop symptoms they should get tested. Individuals are considered contagious 2 days before symptom onset, or if asymptomatic (no symptoms), 2 days before they are tested.
- If you need an isolation or quarantine letter for your employer, you can call the Jackson County Health Department, (517)788-4420, option 9, and leave a message.
More information can be found on JCHD’s website.