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SIU Carbondale to use contact tracing to prevent potential COVID-19 spread this fall

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SIU will work with the Jackson Co. Health Dept. to use more effective contact tracing (WSIL).

CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- SIU Carbondale is working with the Jackson County Health Department to help limit the spread of COVID-19.

When a COVID-19 test comes back positive, there are few steps the health department takes.

"When we get a positive test result, we notify that person, and we make sure they're feeling okay. We talk about next steps and we follow them through that period of isolation, and make sure they're okay. But in addition to that, we wanna know who they've been around that could've been exposed," said Jackson County Health Department Program Coordinator Lori Brummer. 

Finding out who could have been exposed to the virus is called contact tracing. The Jackson County Health Department uses the process for all known cases of the virus.

"It is community spread. If we know of a positive, or if we know that people are having symptoms, we try to stop that in its tracks," Brummer said. 

SIU Carbondale said they'll be open, should a positive COVID-19 case show up on campus.

"Our job then is then to help the health department get the information it needs to find out who those people may have been in contact with," explained SIUC Communications Officer Rae Goldsmith. 

Some of the ways that SIU will help is by providing class rosters should a positive case show up, so the health department can contact students easier, and give them access to work schedules to find out who the positive case came in contact with.

"The University is a community like any other community, and the contact tracing process is the same as it would be in the community. The only real difference is that we provide a lot of assistance to the health department to support their efforts," Goldsmith said.

The Jackson County Health Department said contact tracing is important in order to stop the spread of COVID-19.

"What I can say about contact tracing is it works. And we have to have that piece in order to stop the spread of COVID," Brummer said. 

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Madeline Parker

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