Health departments prepare for COVID-19 surge after Thanksgiving

Heartland health depts. prepare for COVID-19 surge

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - Health Departments in the Heartland are gearing up for a potential increase in COVID-19 cases.

Just days after Thanksgiving, Nathan Ryder with the Southern Seven Health Department in Illinois said he anticipated more people will get tested for COVID-19.

“As we all heard on the news and saw the airports were overloaded with people traveling despite the CDC recommendations to stay home this Thanksgiving,” he said.

Right now all seven counties in Illinois show an increase in their test positivity percentage and new cases per 100,000 people. Ryder said that’s why they are preparing their staff and contact tracers for the influx.

“We currently have more than 10 contact tracers on our tracing team here at Southern Seven Health Department and we hired a new tracer last week, and we would like to hire five more,” he said.

Over in Missouri at the Cape Girardeau County Public Health Center, Maria Davis said the free COVID-19 testing drive-thru will be packed on December 3.

“It takes a about five or seven days after exposure that you start seeing symptoms, that’s kind of the average, so that’s kind of what we expect Wednesday,” she said.

But they are up for the challenge.

“We added a few more staff this week,” she said,

Back over in Illinois, Ryder wanted you to pay attention to the signs of COVID-19 and be patient with your local health department.

“We just need the public’s help if you do test positive and do get a call from our contact tracer, we’re not judging you, we’re here to help you and help you get through the process,” he said.

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