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Dickinson-Iron District Health Department explains when, why potential coronavirus exposure sites are released

When contact tracing works - and all close contacts of a positive case can be identified - a health department does not release a potential exposure site.
Coronavirus COVID-19 generic
Coronavirus COVID-19 generic(WRDW)
Published: Sep. 15, 2020 at 8:05 AM EDT
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KINGSFORD, Mich. (WLUC) - A U.P. health department is explaining again why it releases potential coronavirus exposure sites, which are frequently locally-owned restaurants and bars.

The Dickinson-Iron District Health Department says it is very diligent in its contract tracing to try and avoid these “unfortunate releases.”

“We understand this is not good for the business,” Daren Deyaert, DIDHD Health Officer, said in an email. “Our main concern is to make anyone who may have been exposed aware so they can monitor their health.”

When contact tracing works - and all close contacts of a positive case can be identified - a health department does not release a potential exposure site. While there may have been other places a positive case has been, any close contacts in those locations can often be identified through contact tracing. Therefore, those locations are not publicly released as a possible exposure site.

The CDC says for COVID-19, a close contact is defined as any individual who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 2 days before illness onset (or, for asymptomatic patients, 2 days prior to positive specimen collection) until the time the patient is isolated. The public health evaluation of close contacts to patients with laboratory-confirmed or probable COVID-19 may vary depending on the exposure setting.

An Iron Mountain sports bar was identified as a potential coronavirus exposure site Monday.

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