As Jefferson County continues to experience critically high levels of COVID-19 activity and spread, health officials no longer have the resources to provide second positive test notifications.

The Jefferson County Health Department announced Friday that it no longer will be contacting those positively confirmed individuals who are informed by another source of their positive coronavirus result.

“The Jefferson County Health Department continuously monitors current and trend data related to various aspects of COVID-19 including case rates, community spread, positivity rate, hospitalizations, fatalities, and mental health,” it said in a news release. “Once again, we find ourselves over capacity with regard to new cases and are responsibly adjusting our processes to be more efficient.”

People with positive COVID-19 test results would have been notified by their health-care provider, the Wisconsin National Guard or a digital notification system. The county will not also contact them.

“In addition to those who do not receive a positive test result notification from another source, we will continue to notify our highest-priority populations, including the elderly, those who live in long-term care facilities or nursing homes, school-aged children and youth, and those with disabilities or needs for accommodation that require a critical level of attention,” the department said.

All individuals will be notified of their positive result. The only impact this is intended to have is eliminate the redundancy of a second notification to the majority of those who would receive a second notification.

“We have conferred with the appropriate entities to ensure that no individual with a positive test result is left unaware of their result,” the department said. “This change should not have an adverse impact — rather, it should help the Health Department to respond to new cases and investigations with more agility.

The department has updated its COVID-19 dashboard with a new section for resources such as where individuals can learn what to do after a positive test result or exposure to a positively confirmed individual, and how to notify one’s close contacts of their exposure to the virus.

Persons with questions about quarantine or isolation may contact the Health Department at COVID19@JeffersonCountyWi.gov. Thos who require a letter for work or school may call (920) 674-7275.

SARS-CoV-2, or COVID-19, is spread primarily through respiratory droplets and aerosol that are released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, or breathes. These droplets can also remain on surfaces for an extended period of time, and smaller aerosols can linger in the air for several hours.

Key measures to prevent transmission include the use of face coverings, maintaining physical distance of 6 feet or greater, and frequent hand washing.

Jefferson County had 3,186 positive coronavirus cases as of Saturday, with a 5-percent hospitalization rate. The seven-day rolling average was 97 positive cases daily per 100,000 people, nearly four times the threshold of 25 being considered very high risk.

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