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Valley City, N.D. – There were eight COVID-19 cases confirmed in Barnes County over the weekend, increasing the county’s total case count to forty-six. The individuals are four males in their teens, a male in his 20s, a male in his 50s, and two children under the age of ten. Of the 46 total cases in Barnes County, 21 are determined to have been exposed due to close contact with a positive case; 15 were exposed due to community spread; two were confirmed travel cases; 5 were household contacts; and 3 were possible travel cases.

The majority of Barnes County cases have been exposed due to close contact with a positive case, second only to community spread. The individual source of exposure is determined during case investigation and contact tracing. Contact tracing has been used for decades by state and local health departments to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases. It includes:

-Letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and  symptoms of COVID-19

-Helping people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 get tested

-Instructing people to  self-isolate  if they have COVID-19 or  self-quarantine  if they are a close contact of someone with COVID-19

There are more than 30,000 individuals identified as close contacts in North Dakota today. “We’re seeing the number of close contacts associated with positive cases grow very rapidly in Barnes County. For a single confirmed positive case, it could require a total time investment of more than 10 hours. City-County Health has logged more than 40 manpower hours in the new cases over the weekend,” said Heather Schwehr, Tobacco Prevention Coordinator and COVID Investigation Case Worker at City-County Health District. “We do our best to identify who the case has been in contact with, but the data collected is only as good as the information provided by the positive case. We hope everyone is truthful and thorough about all their close contacts and interactions. It may seem like a burden to have to quarantine or isolate but ultimately that is the best way to get the virus under control in the community. It is an important time to consider the health of the whole community rather than the inconvenience of isolation or quarantine,” added Schwehr.

“We get many questions about quarantine and the parameters laid out for individuals with a positive test result and their close contacts. Quarantine periods exist because it can take up to 14 days after exposure to the virus for a person to develop symptoms. Individuals who have been instructed to quarantine need to do so in order to lower the chance of exposing others to the disease,” said Theresa Will, Administrator for City-County Health District.

For the most timely information and updates related to COVID-19 in North Dakota, visit www.healthy.nd.gov/coronavirus. Follow City-County Health District on Facebook for Barnes County updates or call 701-845-8518.

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