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Breakdown: Contact tracers and their purpose

Coronavirus in Kansas

SEWARD COUNTY, Kan. (KSNW) – Once a person tests positive for the coronavirus, a contact tracer essentially becomes the investigator for that case.

Their job is to help identify who the patient has had contact with, in recent days and weeks.

In Seward County, officials said they have about 10 to 15 contact tracers and also people from the schools who are prepared to help if the need increases.

“While it is daunting in the number of people that have to be contacted in some cases, it is our best effort right now to kind of figure out who might be exposed,” said Seward County Public Information Officer Eli Svaty.

This makes it easier for health officials to find out who has been exposed, so they can test them or tell them to quarantine.

Seward County said it can be difficult, but it’s helping them understand who’s followed the stay-at-home order and also limit the exposure.

“That’s been kind of difficult to stomach, recognizing that, while so many people are working so hard to make these sacrifices to curb the outbreak, there are still others that either are unaware of what’s going on or choosing to ignore what’s going on and are out at social gatherings,” he said.

Officials with the federal government are in southwest Kansas helping to identify and test meat processing plant workers who may have been exposed, so they can determine whether they are safe to continue to work.

Svaty said he hopes people will continue to follow the guidelines set in place, so the region can flatten the curve.

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