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LANCASTER — Fairfield County Health Commissioner Joe Ebel said the rising number of local cases has made contact tracing difficult.
Previously, the health department would call each person an infected person had been in contact with.
"Because of the current Omicron surge it's just overwhelming our capacity and the system's capacity to try to get ahold of everyone that tests positive and do contact tracing with people who were exposed to them," Ebel said. "When you have 400 cases in one day, or whatever, it's nearly impossible to get ahold of people."
Therefore, he is asking those who test positive to inform those whom they may have exposed.
"We're also relying on people, especially the ones who do their home test, to be able to know what they need to do as far as isolation without having to call in here (health department) to get instructions," Ebel said. "They can find those things online."
The health department is still contact tracing in cases involving children or places that have outbreaks.
The department contracted a third-party company to call infected adults now. If the calls are unsuccessful the health department follows up with a letter. Ebel said that can mean sending out 300 letters in one day and that a person may be past their 5-day quarantine period when they receive the letter.
Ebel said there are more positive cases than the official numbers because not everyone who tests positive at home reports it to the health department.
"There's under reporting there and there's a lot of people who are sick and likely do have COVID symptoms but aren't getting tested at all," he said.
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Those needing information on COVID-19 can visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov.
This article originally appeared on Lancaster Eagle-Gazette: Fairfield County has issues tracking COVID cases due to Omicron surge