Explosion of coronavirus case prompts Saginaw health department to seek public help

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SAGINAW, MI – Local health officials are seeking the public’s help in containing COVID-19 through increased self-reporting.

The Saginaw County Health Department issued a press release on Monday, November 9, saying cases “are exploding” in Saginaw County, with nearly 1,200 cases reported in the past 14 days. Of those reported cases, 368 were reported over the weekend. As of Monday, Saginaw County had recorded a total of 4,925 positive cases with 156 deaths since the pandemic began in March.

The department said in the statement that staff are unable to investigate all positive cases or promptly notify close contacts due to the influx of cases. Citizens are asked to use a new online self-declaration form, available at ww.saginawpublichealth.org.

“If you test positive for COVID-19, you may not receive a phone call from the health department again,” said Chris Harrington, MPH, health worker. “We are treating between 70 and 170 new cases every day, compared to 7 cases a day during the summer. That’s why we need everyone’s help to follow isolation and quarantine precautions and to start using an online self-report form. “

Only residents of Saginaw County who test positive and have not yet been contacted by the health department are encouraged to complete the form.

The information provided on the form gives the health department what it needs to deal with each case in the Michigan Disease Surveillance System, the press release said. Normally, this information was provided through a telephone survey. However, Harrington said filling out the form online rather than having a long phone call from investigators will be simpler and easier for public service and health workers.

The hope is that this new procedure will also help the health department to prioritize investigations of epidemics in schools, businesses and vulnerable populations, according to the health department. Therefore, the ministry said it requires businesses and schools to continue using online reporting forms already established for them. This will trigger an outbreak investigation, as well as support from the health department on cleaning, disinfection and other mitigation strategies.

The Saginaw County Health Department has released the following guidelines and steps residents should take if they test positive for COVID-19:

• As soon as you or a loved one tests positive, immediately begin isolation for at least 10 days.

• Notify your close contacts and encourage them to start quarantine for a full 14 days and watch for symptoms.

• Go to www.saginawpublichealth.org and complete the Individual Self-Declaration Form. This is necessary if you need a letter for your employer.

• Please follow all instructions to help stop the spread to others.

• If you have questions about isolation or quarantine, call the health service hotline at (989) 758-3828

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