As cases of COVID-19 surge in Kitsap County the Kitsap Health District has made changes to both contact tracing procedures and reporting. The notification of potential contacts to a someone receiving a positive test for COVID-19 is now left up that individual. The focus for the Health District is in the contacting and monitoring of the positive test recipient themselves.
The recent surge in COVID-19 cases is affecting the way that the Kitsap Public Health District (KPHD) conducts contact tracing.
Previously, KPHD checked in daily with each positive case and each close contact during the time they were advised to stay home and away from others (the “isolation'” period for cases and “quarantine” period for close contacts). In its daily data update, KPHD listed the number of positive cases and close contacts being monitored as “active cases” and “active contacts.”
Due to the rapid increase case volume, KPHD has discontinued daily check-ins in order to focus resources on interviewing new cases. Cases are also being asked to reach out to their close contacts directly to notify them of their potential exposure. Because of these changes, the number of cases and contacts being monitored daily by KPHD is no longer a useful measure of people currently affected by COVID-19 in our community.
See the note above the data graphic for an explanation on how these changes will be reflected in the daily COVID-19 surveillance report.
Contact tracing remains one of the best tools we have to control the spread of COVID-19 in our community and prevent more people from getting sick. If you get a call from Kitsap Public Health, please answer.
If it isn’t clear from these summaries, our new metrics for “cases in isolation” and “contacts in quarantine” reflect all the cases and close contacts that were reported to us, rather than just those we were able to contact on a daily basis. This is the reason for the big increase in the totals from yesterday to today.
In addition there continues to be a reporting difference between the Department of Health of the State of Washington number of deaths due to COVID-19 in Kitsap County (28) and the Kitsap Health District regarding number of deaths (23). There are different processes for verifying a “COVID-19” The information gleaned by the New York Times is also reflecting a higher number of deaths (29).
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