Oneida County Health Department promotes contact tracingSubmitted: 07/13/2020
Rachael Eyler
Rachael Eyler
Weekend Anchor / Reporter

Oneida County Health Department promotes contact tracing
Photos By MGN Online

ONEIDA CO. - Contact tracing isn't something new to the medical field, but it is new to the Northwoods.

Whether you are a permanent resident or just vacationing here, leaving your name and number after visiting a business could help better identify possible exposures. 

After receiving Input from residents, businesses and all four chambers of commerce,the Oneida Co. Health Department launched a webpage that lists public locations where known positive cases have visited.

And businesses who take the small step of collecting patrons contact information could help slow the spread even quicker. 

Director of the Rhinelander Chamber, Lauren Sackett, advised businesses like restaurants to take reservations, or create a list, as a way to collect info.

"If it's as simple as writing your name and phone number on your receipt, its very very helpful in their contact tracing efforts," Sackett said.

The site is broken down into two categories: high risk and low risk. Where businesses are placed is determined based on the possibility of virus exposure. 

"We find out: was there social distancing, was there masking, can you identify everybody you were with?" Linda Conlon, Director of the Oneida Co. Health Department, said. "Based on those responses we categorized businesses as either high risk or low risk."

Mel's sporting goods had an employee test positive for COVID just last week and quickly stepped forward to inform patrons. They met the low risk qualifications.

Owner Mitch Mode said being placed on the list benefits everyone.

"Once we put the news up that we had a positive test returned we had people calling 'can I ask if I was in the store?', Mode said. "We're able to talk to people and answer questions. That's what's really important.

Businesses across the county are being advised to put some sort of measures in place if they do not have them already. 

If businesses do have a COVID case they will remain on that dedicated webpage for 14 days after the last known positive test result. 

The webpage is updated regularly by the Oneida County Health Department.

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