Joplin Health Department dealing with backlog of COVID cases, trying to keep up with contact tracing

Talken says that as cases continue to climb, they are feeling stressed when it comes to contacting everyone in a quick manner.
Contact Tracingg

JOPLIN, Mo. – According to the COVID Tracking Project, in Missouri there has been a 12.9% increase in COVID-19 cases over the past seven days. In Joplin there have been 548 cases in the last 14 days with 293 current active cases. ​

“We’ve been at high points in the past, we are currently at a new high point” said Joplin Health Department Director, Ryan Talken.

With the increase of cases in the area, Joplin health officials are having a hard time with contact tracing.

“As cases continue to climb, it makes it more and more challenging to get those investigated on the same day.”

Talken says that as cases continue to climb, they are feeling stressed when it comes to contacting everyone in a quick manner.

“As far as being overwhelmed, we are a bit stressed in being able to investigate all the cases. We do have a backlog right now of cases. We are working on a plan to alleviate that.”

He says that typically when patients test positive for COVID-19, they will know of their results before it even reaches the health department, a process that slows down their efforts with contact tracing.

“The way that channel works is the laboratory will run the test they will then notify the patient and at the same time an electronic report will go to the State of Missouri lab and then it pings it back down at the local health department level, we have to receive it log it in and make the actual calls.”