County to use online platform for Covid contact tracing
This Dec. 1, 2020, file photo shows the building that houses the Flathead City-County Health Department at 1035 1st Ave. W. in Kalispell. (Casey Kreider/Daily Inter Lake)
| January 6, 2022 1:00 PM
The Flathead City-County Health Department is shifting to an online platform to contact Covid-19 positive individuals in anticipation of rising cases due to the more contagious omicron variant.
Covid cases in the Flathead have ticked up dramatically this week, with 535 active cases as of Thursday. That compares to 140 active cases one week ago.
“The case load in our county is quickly outpacing our current staff capacity, and this shift will help us get information out to cases and contacts in a more efficient manner,” said Joe Russell, Health Officer of the health department.
Beginning Jan. 10, the health department will contact lab-identified positive cases via text message, which will include a link to a secure web-based survey where individuals will complete their case investigation. This web form will gather patient information and provide instructions on how to properly isolate.
If the form is not completed within 24 hours, the patient will receive a follow-up phone call from a case investigator.
While completing the form, cases will be asked to provide contact information for any close contacts. Once the case investigation form is submitted, Health Department staff will contact all high-risk close contacts via phone call to provide guidance on quarantine protocol.
The information collected in these secure HIPAA-compliant web forms will be used for contact tracing and epidemiological purposes only. Case investigation by phone call will remain available for individuals who do not have access to internet services or for those who would prefer to complete the investigation with a staff member.
For more information about COVID-19, visit flatheadhealth.org.