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Nevada health officials update contact tracing questions

Posted at 9:56 PM, Dec 11, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-12 00:56:45-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The surge in COVID-19 cases is currently impacting contact tracing investigations in Nevada.

A memo obtained by 13 Action News from the Nevada Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) recommends disease investigators cut back on the number of questions and information they collect from people with COVID-19.

As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to rise, state health officials say the surge in cases hurts the ability to keep up with contact tracing.

CORONAVIRUS: 45 new deaths reported for state of Nevada

Assistant Professor at the UNLV School of Public Health Brian Labus says that contact tracing works best when a disease is under control.

"We have limited resources. We can't do a 2-hour long investigation with every positive person. So, we sometimes have to dial back the questions and reduce the length of those interviews," said Labus.

COVID-19 contact tracing doesn't start until there's a positive diagnosis by health authorities and investigators say that the change in questions asked does not mean that they're not doing their investigations.

The Southern Nevada Health District said there are no changes in the questions and that the memo outlines an abbreviated case investigation and prioritization of cases for those that fall into specific categories.

RELATED: Nevada has 2nd highest coronavirus positivity rate in the nation

However, some of the questions not being asked anymore include visiting a casino or working at a hotel.

"If you happen to work at a casino, it doesn't mean that you were infected there. So, we can ask about what those exposures are, but we don't' know which one actually resulted in that person getting the disease," Labus said.

For all the information to be gathered, health officials say it is important for those with COVID-19 to answer their questions.