VALLEY CITY, N.D. (City County Health) – An individual that tests positive for COVID-19 receives notification of their positive result from the ordering provider or facility where their test was completed. When an individual is positive for COVID-19 a case worker for the North Dakota Department of Health will be in contact with the individual soon after they learn of their results.

When a case worker calls an individual that is positive the interview has 4 components. The first component is to determine when the individual’s symptoms of COVID-19 began. The reason a case investigator needs to know when a person’s symptom began, is to determine when they were contagious. A person is contagious two days prior to their symptoms beginning. For individuals that test positive with no symptoms the health department considers the individual contagious two days prior to the test date.

The second component is than to understand all the places and people the contagious person was around while contagious. Once the case worker understands where an individual has spent their time while contagious, they then start deciding if anyone is a close contact and would need to quarantine for 14 days after their exposure to the contagious individual. This is determined by the positive individual’s type of interactions with people. If an individual was within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, they are a close contact and need to quarantine. During the quarantine period, case workers follow-up with the close contacts watching for signs and symptoms of COVID19.

The third component of the interview is to ask the case where they had been 14 days prior to becoming sick. These questions are used to determine how the individual was infected with COVID19. The case worker tries to learn if the positive person was around someone, they know was positive for COVID-19 or maybe traveled out of state and contracted COVID-19 while they were outside North Dakota.

The fourth component of an investigation is notifying the close contacts of their exposure to COVID-19 and the need to quarantine for 14 days after their exposure. This notification from the case worker happens within the same day as the interview of the case or very quickly the next day. If you think you’re a close contact and it’s been more than two days since you learned of the individuals positive test have a conversation with the person that is positive. Maybe they forgot about your encounter or maybe your encounter didn’t take place while they were contagious. In North Dakota, if you are a close contact a health department representative will be in contact with you promptly.

Remember there is no get out of quarantine free card, no matter if you test negative during quarantine you still need to complete the 14 days. Since there is no a vaccine and there is no treatment the only thing we have, to slow the spread and save lives of those vulnerable to severe complications, is to have people quarantine. The big picture is that you are quarantining for your neighbor, not yourself.

For more information on COVID-19 go to www.health.nd.gov and click on coronavirus (more information) or call their hotline at 1-866-207-2880 or contact City County Health District about any concerns or needs that you may have (845-8518).  If you or your family would need a cloth mask, they can be obtained at City County Health District.