Rapid coronavirus spread in this city leaves contact tracers unable to track all cases

Cases are of the novel coronavirus are climbing so fast in one city that officials can no longer trace all cases, according to a local report. 

Philadelphia last week reported an average of nearly 300 new coronavirus cases per day, marking the highest average since the start of May, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, citing city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, who added that last week’s positivity rate reached 7.2%. 

Philadelphia last week reported an average of nearly 300 new coronavirus cases per day, marking the highest average since the start of May.
(iStock)

The growing number of cases has bombarded the city’s contact-tracing initiative. At this time, an estimated 15% to 20% of people in Philadelphia who have tested positive will not be contacted by tracers, Hannah Lawman, chief of operations for the city’s Division of COVID Containment, told the newspaper. 

Prior to the surge, contact tracers could handle between 200 to 250 cases per day. But as the Philadelphia Inquirer noted, daily counts in the city have surpassed that for two weeks now. 

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Additionally, it will also take longer for those who have been tested for the novel coronavirus to learn their results. Patients will no longer be notified within 24 hours.

Positive cases will also be asked to inform their close contacts that they may have been exposed, as tracers “don’t have time to do it,” Farley said, per the Philadelphia Inquirer. 

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The news comes as Phildephiua is also facing a citywide curfew following a second night of looting and protests after two police officers shot and killed a Black man. 

The city is not the only area in the country where contact tracers are overwhelmed and strapped for resources. Last week, for instance, North Dakota health officials asked residents to conduct their own contact tracing if they have tested positive for COVID-19.