PHMDC shifting to ‘crisis model’ for COVID-19 contact tracing due to increased case load

Janel Heinrich

MADISON, Wis. — Public health officials in Dane County are shifting to a crisis model of contact tracing due to elevated COVID-19 case numbers in the community.

Officials with Public Health Madison & Dane County said Wednesday that they can no longer keep up with contact tracing due to the number of new cases confirmed each day.

A crisis model of contact tracing means that health officials will contact those who test positive, but they will not be able to follow up with everyone who came in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

“Like all other health departments in the state, we are struggling to keep up with contact tracing. When we consistently have well over 150 new cases per day, we cannot contact all cases and contacts quickly enough to effectively disrupt the spread of COVID-19,” said Janel Heinrich, Director of Public Health Madison & Dane County. “We are moving to a crisis model of contact tracing.”

Health officials are asking anyone who tests positive for the coronavirus to notify close contacts that they have been exposed.

If case counts decline, public health officials may be able to resume contact tracing, but they are unsure of when that may be possible.