The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services has warned us there are simply to many people sick with COVID-19 for health officials to connect with all their contacts.
Health departments are having to do triage and put case investigators and contact tracers on the cases most likely to infect the most vulnerable. That means many who are sick don’t even know they have been exposed and are out in public.
“Over 2/3 of positive cases were out and potentially spreading the virus to others,” warned Michigan’s Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun on November 12.
People simply did not know they had been exposed when contact tracers reached them.
Since, the situation has gotten worse, as cases increase.
Health departments are calling on people diagnosed to be proactive and reach out to their contacts to let them know if they potentially have been exposed. They say don’t wait for health departments to do it.
Health officials also say time and time again sick people say they simply cannot quarantine.
“I don’t think they want to become super-spreaders of COVID by any means. I genuinely think we have people working front line jobs and they don’t have paid vacation days. So any day that they are off work is a day they are not getting paid,” said Kate Guzman, Administrator of Medical Service for Oakland County Health Division.
Guzman says contact tracers work to connect people with resources.
Since contact tracers simply cannot reach out to everyone due to the high number of people sick right now, WXYZ wanted to know, what help is out there?
“During the pandemic, it has gone to almost 1,300 calls in one day,” said Tamara Bolden, Senior Director of Operations of 211 of Southeast Michigan.
Two-one-one is the United Way phone line that connects people with resources. You can learn more about 211 at https://unitedwaysem.org/get-help/.
Before COVID-19 it averaged about 500 calls a day. Now the United Way is connecting people with access to free testing, food and medicine delivery during quarantine, help getting food and paying bills. She is calling on Federal Lawmakers to provide more assistance.
“It is a dire situation. Many people are faced with making a decision about their health or getting food or money to pay bills,” said Bolden.
“The volume is quite high and it only is going to continue to grow,” said Kristin Minnich, a Beaumont Farmington Hills Social Work Manager.
Minnich works to help make sure patients have what they need when they are discharged. She says there are resources out there, but the community is needed to help people fighting this virus. She says if you know someone who is quarantined, offer to drop off necessities for them if you can.
“Go that extra mile. Reach out to those who are having to quarantine. See what you can do to help,” said Minnich.