Salem County COVID-19 Cases: How are they Tracked?

Tracking positive cases is not a simple, quick process. There are many factors that have to be taken into consideration when investigating each positive case which can make the investigation quite lengthy at times. Some of these factors are:

  1. There could be a language barrier that may require our interpreter to assist.
  2. Sometimes, our case database may have incorrect or missing information on an individual’s address or contact information. If this occurs, our staff has to call the ordering physician, hospital, or laboratory who conducted the test to track down the correct contact information or address of the individual. Often, this may lengthen the investigation and delay case reporting.
  3. We receive a lot of cases from Local Hospitals and with that, there is a possibility of the individual not residing in Salem County. Therefore, we must first start the investigation to see if they live in our county. If they do, we pro- ceed with the investigation and conduct contact tracing. If they do not live in county, we correct their home address and forward their case to the appropriate County Department of Health.
  4. If a patient was transported to a facility in our county, we work with our local Office of Emergency Management to coordinate who transported the patient so that we can notify the first responders of the positive case. Local hospitals will also be making notifications to EMS.
  5. Due to the stigma that may surround being COVID-19 positive, some individuals may be less forthcoming when providing our department with important information. This information includes their close contacts, symptoms, employment history, and current address. This information is a critical part of our case investigation as it aides in minimizing further spread of the virus.
  6. If a person is asymptomatic or has not been feeling ill and tests positive for COVID-19, they still must follow the CDC protocols of self-isolation until they can return to work or be around other individuals.
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