Last Updated: Oct 29, 2020
Contact tracing has been used for decades by state and local health departments to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases.
Contact tracing slows the spread of COVID-19 by:
- 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
- Asking people to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or self-quarantine if they are a close contact of someone with COVID-19
During contact tracing, the health department staff will not ask you for
- Social Security number
- Bank account information
- Salary information
- Credit card numbers
It is very important that you reply to calls to the public health office. In order to do contact tracing, they often leave a message and wait for you to call back.
When you talk with public health officials, they will help you obtain workplace protections for the time you must take off if you have a positive COVID test or are a close contact and need to quarantine.
Please call the public health office in Johnson County if you have questions or need to report a contact or positive COVID test at the number below:
JC Public Health Emergency Operations Center: 307-425-6560
For much more information about Contact Tracing, click here:
How to Protect Yourself and Others
Know how it spreads
• There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). We hope to see one in the next few months, as several trials are in the final phases.
• The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus.
• The virus is thought to spread mainly through droplets from person-to-person.
- Droplets spread between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Viral spread is through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs, sneezes or talks.
- These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.
- Some recent studies show that COVID-19 is spread by people who
are not showing symptoms.
Clean your hands often
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds especially after you have been in a public place, or after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
• If soap and water are not readily available, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol. Cover all surfaces of your hands and rub them together until they feel dry.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
• Stay at home as much as possible.
• Put a distance of 6 feet between yourself and other people. ( If you reach out your arm, and the person with you reaches out their arm, and they don't touch - that is a good approximation of 6 feet.)
- Remember that people without symptoms may be able to spread the virus.
- This is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
• You could spread COVID-19 to others even if you do not feel sick.
• Everyone should wear a cloth face cover when they have to go out in public.
- Cloth face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2, anyone who has trouble breathing, or is unconscious, incapacitated, or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
• The cloth face cover is meant to protect other people in case you are infected, but not yet showing symptoms. While masks do protect you from droplet spread, they are not fail-safe protection. the purpose is to keep the spread from person to person at a minimum.
• Continue to keep about 6 feet between yourself and others. The cloth face cover is not a substitute for social distancing. Distancing together with masks, handwashing/sanitizing has been shown to be our best weapons against COVID-19 until we have a vaccine available.
Cover coughs and sneezes
• If you are in a private setting and do not have on your cloth face covering, remember to always cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when you cough or sneeze or use the inside of your elbow.
• Throw used tissues in the trash.
• Immediately wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, clean your hands with a hand sanitizer that
contains at least 60% alcohol.
Clean and disinfect
• Clean AND disinfect frequently touched surfaces daily. This includes tables, doorknobs, light switches, countertops, handles, desks, phones, keyboards, toilets,
faucets, and sinks. Covid does live on surfaces, and if you place your hand on a viral droplet left there by someone else, and then touch your eye or nose - the virus has access to you.
• If surfaces are dirty, clean them: Use detergent or soap and water prior to disinfection.
Stay aware of the latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak. As medical experts learn more about this new virus, the recommendations change. This is based on what we are learning, and it is all about protecting you and others from the possible severe complications from COVID-19.
You can reduce your chances of being infected or spreading COVID-19 by taking some simple precautions:
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using an alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
Maintain at least 6 feet of distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
Why? When someone laughs, sings, talks, coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which contain virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease. Even people without symptoms may have COVID-19. That is why it is important to social distance even if neither of you appears sick.
Wear a mask when out in public until restrictions ease.
“We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms,” according to the advisory published by the CDC. “This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity — for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing — even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.”
“In light of this evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies) especially in areas of significant community-based transmission,” the advisory stated.
The CDC supported its position by citing several studies about the asymptomatic spread of the disease, the first of which was published on March 5 in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“It is becoming increasingly clear that all people should be wearing masks while out in public. Masks are a likely reason why the virus has been better controlled in China, South Korea, Japan, and other countries,” Dr. Subinoy Das, chief medical officer of Tivic Health and the chief executive officer of the U.S. Institute for Advanced Sinus Care and Research, told Healthline.
The CDC is recommending, not requiring, mask use when going out in public. The agency stressed that the advisory applies to cloth masks — including homemade masks — not hospital-grade surgical masks and microparticle-filtering N95 masks.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose, or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
Make sure you, and the people around you, follow good respiratory hygiene.
This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately, and wash your hands.
Why? Droplets spread viruses. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu, and COVID-19.
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention, and call in advance.
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on the situation in your area. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent the spread of viruses and other infections.
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your health care provider, your national and local public health authority, or your employer on how to protect yourself and others from COVID-19. CDC.GOV
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
- Masks have been an item of controversy during the pandemic. At first, it was not clear that the masks helped because experts thought the virus spread through the air.
- As studies have been done, it has become more clear that the virus spreads through droplets. That is why the masking mandates have changed during the course of this pandemic.
- Based on the best information that has been learned through careful study over the past many months, the guidance is now that all people will benefit from community masking.
- The masks protect others from droplets that you spread. They also protect you from breathing in droplets from others.
- Because COVID-19 is a new virus, we are learning daily about it and about how to protect people from the complications of the illness.
- It is very important to realize that what was mandated in March of 2020 was based on our best information then, but what is mandated now is based on new information that has been gathered, and therefore, we need to be aware of the newest recommendations and follow them.
Some people have used the fact that the guidelines have changed as a reason to not follow them. But, that is hardly the case! It is simply that as we learn more each day, the guidelines changed based on new knowledge.
Effective Methods Now:
- The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, wear a mask, and social distance from others by 6 ft. or more.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are...
- People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
- Muscle or body aches
- New loss of taste or smell
- Sore throat
- Congestion or runny nose
- Nausea or vomiting
This list does not include all possible symptoms. CDC will continue to update the list as we learn more about COVID-19.
These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually. Some people become infected but don’t develop any symptoms and don't feel unwell. Most people (about 80%) recover from the disease without needing special treatment. About one in every five people who contract it need hospital care. Older people, and those with underlying medical problems like high blood pressure, heart problems or diabetes, are more likely to develop serious illness. People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention.
Illness due to COVID-19 infection is generally mild. About one in every five people who contract it need hospital care.
Most coronavirus illnesses are mild with fever and cough. The vast majority of people with COVID-19 do not require hospital care. A much smaller percentage of people get severely ill with lung and breathing problems like pneumonia. People over the age of 60 and people with underlying medical conditions are at the highest risk.
The World Health Organization has more information about how to protect yourself.
If you have upper respiratory symptoms (cough, fever, or shortness of breath) and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19–please call and visit with a provider.
Prevent COVID-19 Spread to Others if You are Sick
- If you are sick with COVID-19 or think you might have it, take steps to help protect other people from getting sick:
- Stay home except to get medical care.
- Call the doctor before visiting.
- Separate yourself from others who live with you.
- Wear a mask to protect others.
- Cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue and clean your hands right away.
- Avoid sharing items with other people in your home. This includes things like towels and bedding. Be sure dishes are washed in hot water or the dishwasher before anyone else uses them.
- Stay aware of how you feel. If you start to have difficulty breathing or if you are worried about your
health, call your doctor.
What should I do while I am waiting?
It can take some time to get results or to hear from Public Health experts if you were exposed. What can you do while you are waiting?
- Stay home from work and school
- Monitor your symptoms
- Get rest and stay hydrated
- Call your doctor
- Cover your nose and mouth with a mask
- Wash your hands often or hand sanitize
- Stay away from other people
- Clean all surfaces that are touched often.
- If you know that you have been a close contact with someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, call your public health department for more guidance.
- The virus can spread from person-to-person through small droplets from the nose or mouth when a person with COVID-19 coughs or exhales. These droplets land on objects and surfaces around the person.
- Other people may contract COVID-19 by touching these objects or surfaces, then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth. People can also be exposed to COVID-19 if they breathe in droplets from a person with COVID-19 who coughs out or exhales droplets.
- This is why it is important to stay 6 feet away from a person who is sick. And social distancing by staying 6 ft. from others while in public is also recommended, since the virus can spread even before a person knows that they are sick.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is assessing ongoing research on the ways COVID-19 is spread and will continue to share updated findings.
If you have upper respiratory symptoms – cough, fever or shortness of breath and believe you need to be evaluated for COVID-19 – please call your healthcare provider.
JCHC now has the ability to do PCR testing, and also Rapid PCR testing. Call your healthcare provider to learn if you need to be tested.
Tests are generally being run and returned to us by the State labs within 48 hours of taking a sample.
Not everyone needs to be tested for COVID-19. If you are sick with fever, cough or shortness of breath and in a high-risk group, call your health care provider to discuss whether you should be tested for COVID-19.
People at high risk for complications from COVID-19 are:
- People older than 60
- People with chronic medical conditions
- People with compromised immune systems
- Those who are pregnant
To date, there is no vaccine and no specific antiviral medicine to prevent COVID-19.
Many treatments and symptom management regimens are currently being studied, and some are being used now to help patients.
The most effective ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19 are to frequently clean your hands, cover your nose and mouth with a mask, and maintain a social distance of 6 feet from other people.
Get your household ready for COVID-19. As a family, you can plan and make decisions now that will protect you and your family. Here is a link to some great information from the CDC:
What is Quarantine?
Quarantine is put into place to prevent the possible spread of an infectious disease from someone who may have been exposed to the disease but is not yet sick. When people are quarantined, they are kept separate from others until they are out of the period when they could get sick. During that time, health officials track their health so that if they do develop symptoms, they can get them to a health care provider quickly for evaluation, testing if needed, and care.
When people are in self-quarantine, they have no symptoms, but because there is a possibility that they might have been exposed, they stay away from others in public settings. For 14 days from their last possible exposure, people in self-quarantine cannot go to work, school, or any public places where they could have close contact with others. Public health departments direct them on how to monitor their health so that should they develop symptoms, they can be quickly and safely isolated from all others, including those in their household.
For more information, go to https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/if-you-are-sick/quarantine.html
Stay home if you might have been exposed to COVID-19
CDC Information Updated Sept. 10, 2020
At this time, we have limited information about reinfections with the virus that causes COVID-19. This is a new virus, and CDC is actively working to learn more. We will provide updates as they become available. Data to date show that a person who has had and recovered from COVID-19 may have low levels of virus in their bodies for up to 3 months after diagnosis. This means that if the person who has recovered from COVID-19 is retested within 3 months of initial infection, they may continue to have a positive test result, even though they are not spreading COVID-19.
There are no confirmed reports to date of a person being re-infected with COVID-19 within 3 months of initial infection. However, additional research is ongoing. Therefore, if a person who has recovered from COVID-19 has new symptoms of COVID-19, the person may need an evaluation for reinfection, especially if the person has had close contact with someone infected with COVID-19. The person should isolate and contact a healthcare provider to be evaluated for other causes of their symptoms, and possibly retested.
CDC recommends that all people, whether or not they have had COVID-19, take steps to prevent getting and spreading COVID-19. Wash hands regularly, stay at least 6 feet away from others whenever possible, and wear masks.
Quarantine is used to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others. Quarantine helps prevent spread of disease that can occur before a person knows they are sick or if they are infected with the virus without feeling symptoms. People in quarantine should stay home, separate themselves from others, monitor their health, and follow directions from their state or local health department.
Quarantine or isolation: What's the difference?
Quarantine keeps someone who might have been exposed to the virus away from others.
Isolation keeps someone who is infected with the virus away from others, even in their home.
Who needs to quarantine?
People who have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19—excluding people who have had COVID-19 within the past 3 months.
People who have tested positive for COVID-19 do not need to quarantine or get tested again for up to 3 months as long as they do not develop symptoms again. People who develop symptoms again within 3 months of their first bout of COVID-19 may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms.
What counts as close contact?
- You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
- You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
- You had direct physical contact with the person (hugged or kissed them)
- You shared eating or drinking utensils
- They sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
Steps to take
Stay home and monitor your health
- Stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19
- Watch for fever (100.4◦F), cough, shortness of breath, or other symptomsof COVID-19
- If possible, stay away from others, especially people who are at higher riskfor getting very sick from COVID-19
When to start and end quarantine
You should stay home for 14 days after your last contact with a person who has COVID-19.
For all of the following scenarios, even if you test negative for COVID-19 or feel healthy, you should stay home (quarantine) since symptoms may appear 2 to 14 days after exposure to the virus.
See the scenarios below to determine when you can end quarantine and be around others.
Scenario 1: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—will not have further close contact
I had close contact with someone who has COVID-19 and will not have further contact or interactions with the person while they are sick (e.g., co-worker, neighbor, or friend).
Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from the date you had close contact.
Date of last close contact with person who has COVID-19 + 14 days= end of quarantine
Scenario 2: Close contact with someone who has COVID-19—live with the person but can avoid further close contact
I live with someone who has COVID-19 (e.g., roommate, partner, family member), and that person has isolated by staying in a separate bedroom. I have had no close contact with the person since they isolated.
Your last day of quarantine is 14 days from when the person with COVID-19 began home isolation
Scenario 3. Under quarantine and had additional close contact with someone who has COVID-19
I live with someone who has COVID-19 and started my 14-day quarantine period because we had close contact. What if I ended up having close contact with the person who is sick during my quarantine? What if another household member gets sick with COVID-19? Do I need to restart my quarantine?
Yes. You will have to restart your quarantine from the last day you had close contact with anyone in your house who has COVID-19. Any time a new household member gets sick with COVID-19 and you had close contact, you will need to restart your quarantine.
Date of additional close contact with person who has COVID-19 + 14 days = end of quarantine
Scenario 4: Live with someone who has COVID-19 and cannot avoid continued close contact
I live in a household where I cannot avoid close contact with the person who has COVID-19. I am providing direct care to the person who is sick, don’t have a separate bedroom to isolate the person who is sick, or live in close quarters where I am unable to keep a physical distance of 6 feet.
You should avoid contact with others outside the home while the person is sick, and quarantine for 14 days after the person who has COVID-19 meets the criteria to end home isolation.
Date the person with COVID-19 ends home isolation + 14 days = end of quarantine
Note: to see the calendar page examples of these scenarios, click here:
Q. Where is JCHC getting their information?
There are many medical professionals working to keep our community safe. At JCHC, we employ an Infection Preventionist. Kristina Duarte, RN, BSN. An Infection Preventionist is not only in charge of COVID regulations but is someone who helps JCHC and AHCC avoid infections in general.
JCHC also has the Johnson County Health Officer, Dr. Mark Schueler on staff. Together, they are following the CDC guidelines, the CMS guidelines, and the APIC guidelines, along with the local, state, and national guidelines. These are the best sources for medical professionals in how to prepare for and treat COVID-19.
The JCHC staff work with Johnson County Public Health and the Wyoming Department of Health to stay up to date, and to keep our community safe.