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Contact tracing happening on limited basis in Sedgwick County

Coronavirus in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Contact tracing is a research method used to find most or all contacts a COVID-19 positive person has before, during and after a diagnosis.

It is happening on a limited basis in Sedgwick County.

KU School of Medicine-Wichita says Dr. Garold Minns has been doing contact tracing by himself and with current county staff.

Dr. Minns is the Sedgwick County health officer.

“On the health department side, he (Dr. Minns) said that it (Sedgwick County) has been doing contact tracing ever since the outbreak started,” said Belinda Venters with KU School of Medicine-Wichita. “Performing extensive contact tracing has been limited due to allotted testing supplies.”

On a large scale, contact tracing can involve teams of researchers. Hundreds of hours are spent by researchers contacting most, if not all, contacts a COVID-19 patient had in recent history.

In Wyandotte County, there are 20 medical students working on contact tracing along with hundreds of volunteers.

Besides volunteers, contact tracing can take money to mobilize teams of researchers.

“Contact tracing is really where we want to go,” said Wichita Mayor Brandon Whipple. “We are working with our friends at the federal government level to see if there are other funds available. We need more tests. We need more resources. But in the meantime, until we get that, I think Wichitans have been doing a really good job with social distancing.”

Contact tracing also is meant to inform and then monitor those who have come into contact with a COVID-19 patient. Contact tracing can also include cell phone data to locate potential COVID-19 contact.

Another spokesperson at the University of Kansas Medical Center says Wyandotte County has not received any funding to assist with the contact tracing efforts.

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