The Athens City County Health Department announced Monday that it will be increasing its contact tracing efforts for COVID-19, this announcement comes a day after a new case of COVID-19 was confirmed, bringing the county total to 25 confirmed cases.

Of the 25 confirmed cases in Athens County, four are considered active, 20 are recovered and one died in mid-March. As of last week O’Bleness has tested 2,470 people for COVID-19.

The Health Department will be increasing their contact tracing, the process through which they are able to find individuals who had contact with the patients.

“Contact tracing is a critical step in the COVID-19 disease investigation process. A contact tracer works with confirmed COVID-19 patients to identify individuals they have had contact with who meet a specified set of criteria identified by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” the release said.

Contact tracing has begun throughout the state of Ohio. Gov. Mike DeWine said on Twitter that it was “an important part” of the Responsible Restart Ohio plan.

The tracing begins with the patient who has tested positive for COVID-19. They are asked a series of questions that will allow the tracers to determine where they have been, who they have been around and how many people may have been exposed. The tracers then use this information to contact the individuals mentioned by the patient who are then interviewed and asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Health Department stated that community members who believe they may be have been exposed to the virus can help the process of contact tracing in the following ways:

  • Answer the phone when the health department calls or quickly return a message.
  • Call your doctor if you develop symptoms and have not been tested for COVID-19.
  • Self-quarantine for 14 days: stay home, take your temperature daily, stay 6 feet from others or wear a face covering.
  • Go to the hospital if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.
  • Let the health department know if you need anything such as food or other support while you are self-quarantined.

“We appreciate the cooperation of close contacts we have already worked with in Athens County. If you would like to receive a COVID-19 test, look for a testing location on the ODH website, coronavirus.ohio.gov,” the release said.

The number of cases in the counties surrounding Athens stand at:

  • Washington – 120 cases
  • Morgan – 6 cases
  • Perry – 26 cases
  • Hocking – 74 cases
  • Vinton – 22 cases
  • Meigs – 9 cases
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