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Marathon County Health Dept. on COVID-19 surge: “We’re not doing a very good job of slowing it”

Published: Oct. 12, 2020 at 6:41 PM CDT
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - The Marathon County Health Department says the volume of COVID-19 cases they’re dealing with is worsening. It’s forcing them to get help from the state with contact tracing.

For perspective, from March 21st to August 8th, the county had 629 cases. Last week, Marathon County recorded 625 positive cases.

“I would say we’re not doing a very good job of slowing it down because we still continue to see our case numbers at a high level,” said Judy Burrows, public information officer for the Marathon County Health Department.

The county hit an all-time high number of cases Friday with 149 new positive cases. Burrows gave a window into the difficulty of contact tracing.

“Imagine getting a list of over 100 individuals you need to call in one day. And when you talk with that 100 and some people, and you find that each one of them has five or maybe even 10 close contacts,” she said. “We need to do a better job. We need to stay home more.”

They’re prioritizing contact with older adults and young children, who she says can have worse cases.

“We try to reach the most vulnerable first,” she said.

Now they’re getting help from the state for the rest, in order to be able to keep up with notifying people in a timely manner.

“What’s left goes to the state, and they are doing quite a bit of work for us now,” she said.

Right now, Burrows says people should take responsibility for self-isolating.

“You are told by a friend or family member that you’re a close contact to them and that they’re positive, don’t wait for us to call, or anyone to call,” she said.

Burrows says when you go out in public in Marathon County, you should assume you are in contact with people who have COVID-19 and take precautions accordingly.

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