ALEXANDER COUNTY, NC (July 8, 2020) — As of July 7 at 4:00 p.m., the Alexander County Health Department reports that 48 people are in quarantine with COVID-19. One person remains in the hospital, and there has been one death associated with COVID-19. Of the cumulative total of 136 confirmed cases, 86 people have fully recovered.
Leeanne Whisnant, Director of Consolidated Human Services, said the health department would like to provide some details about “contact tracing” and a recent rise in confirmed cases of COVID-19.
Whisnant said the majority of Alexander County’s cases of COVID-19 in the past few weeks are community acquired, as most of the residents who tested positive say, “I don’t know where I got it.” In addition, she estimated that about 50 percent of the people who tested positive were asymptomatic, meaning they showed no symptoms and were unaware of having COVID-19.
Whisnant noted that the health department and doctor’s offices are now testing more people as directed by the NC Department of Health and Human Services, and increased testing is resulting in increased confirmed cases. By testing more people, the health department hopes to catch positive cases earlier and prevent hospitalizations and deaths.
In terms of contract tracing, when the health department is notified of a positive case, staff calls the confirmed case and conducts an interview to determine their close contacts. Staff then calls the contacts to inform them that they may have come in contact with someone who tested positive, and then urges them to be tested or to self-isolate for 14 days. Whisnant said that in a couple of instances, the entire household has tested positive after conducting contact tracing, which is understandable because they live together and share things.
“Contact tracing is a very sensible and necessary approach to find those who have been exposed to the virus so we can keep them from interacting with others to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” Whisnant stated. “While we have seen an increase in confirmed cases in the last couple of weeks, we are hoping for it to slow as we quarantine those who are infected with the virus.”
The health department continues to encourage residents to wear a cloth face covering when in public, wash hands frequently, and maintain social of distance of at least six feet.
“If we all work together and do the right things, we can limit the spread of the virus and hopefully enter the state’s phase three on July 17,” Whisnant stated. “Overall, I’m proud of our people in Alexander County because our numbers are relatively low compared to neighboring counties. We appreciate everyone’s support.”