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Contact tracing continues as Nebraska sees surge in COVID-19 cases

Published: Nov. 9, 2020 at 7:02 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - “If you want to be perfectly honest here, the safe number is one. You. Okay. The more people you have together, the better chance you have of somebody asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic and infecting other people," Health Infectious Disease Expert with CHI Health, Dr. David Quimby, said.

Health officials are urging Nebraskans to think twice about their plans this holiday season as the state sees an increase of positive COVID-19 cases.

Contact tracing is underway by local health departments, and the state’s Department of Health and Human Services is taking on an any overflow the counties cannot handle.

“We probably took 30 percent of the cases, and now it’s probably switched the other way. It’s probably 70 - 30 where we’re taking 70 percent of the cases," the Department’s Director of Care and Contact, Jeff Fry, said.

Through their work Fry said the Department is able to link positive cases to large events like weddings.

“I know I had a call with someone the other day who was planning on going to a 561 person guest wedding this last weekend. And that is just the stuff that we can’t be doing right now," Fry said.

The state is looking at other events like political rallies, similar to President Trump’s visit to Omaha in late October.

“We haven’t seen any outbreak because of the Trump rally in Omaha yet," Fry added.

Bars and restaurants are also added to the list of places to track.

“We can actually track bars and restaurants they’ve been at since those have obviously been hot spots during this pandemic," Fry explained.

Fry said one of their biggest challenges is getting people to tell the truth about where they’ve been within the last two weeks.

“We are somewhat limited to how honest people want to be when they want to answer questions. We ran into that with the Sturgis rally," Fry said.

Fry said he does not believe contact tracing efforts will slow down anytime soon, and hopes more positive patients participate in the efforts to slow the spread of the virus.

“If you see an unknown number during this health crisis maybe answer the phone because it could be very important. You might be receiving a call from the Nebraska Covid Response Team," he added.

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