Muscatine County Public Health transfers contract tracing to state health department

The Muscatine County Health Department said it will transfer contract tracing and COVID-19 disease investigation to the Iowa Department of Public Health beginning Friday.

“It was a difficult decision and weighed heavy on my heart but we are no longer able to financially sustain a larger COVID-19 Disease Investigation and Contact Tracing effort for our county, especially in anticipation for the upcoming school/college year,” Director Christy Roby Williams said.

“We understand that there are no additional financial resources from our county and there are no additional Cares dollars being distributed to local public health departments to date. Therefore, in order to manage the financials of what it would take for us to deploy our full public health team just for disease investigation, surveillance, monitoring and contact tracing specific to COVID-19, we must transfer the responsibilities to the Iowa Department of Public Health.”

Muscatine County Public Health has served nearly 800 residents diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began. With schools, universities, and communities beginning to reopen, Muscatine County Public Health will focus its resources on how they can best meet the needs of the community as cases continue to rise.

“Letting the Iowa Department of Public Health take over contact tracing, allows us to give our time and resources to the residents of Muscatine County who need it most,” Williams said.

IDPH will handle the initial response and contact tracing which comes in the form of a phone call to those who test positive for COVID-19. This phone call will cover the important information that residents need to know about testing positive and will review who you’ve been in physical contact with prior to the positive test. IDPH will then refer residents to MCPH who need more help and resources.

You can continue to do your part in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 by practicing social distancing, washing your hands frequently, and always wearing a face covering when in public.

If you have needs related to testing positive for COVID-19, MCPH is willing and ready to serve you. If you find that you need resources while you and/or your household is in self-isolation, please contact MCPH and you will be connected to professionals who can navigate you to the resources that meet your immediate needs. These resources may include getting connected to a primary health care provider in our county, insurance access needs, medical supplies, or household items. You can contact MCPH by calling 563-263-0122.