OSCEOLA COUNTY — The number of new positive COVID-19 cases reported to the Central Michigan District Health Department (CMDHD) has increased significantly.

Recent cases have reported many close contacts, making it difficult to quickly contact and give instructions to both positive cases and their close contacts. Many people are also contracting COVID-19 from no known source.

CMDHD is dedicated to protecting the health of our residents, however our employees are currently unable to reach every positive case within the first 24 hours of receiving results. In some cases, we are only verifying that people are receiving their positive result.

We are prioritizing the positive cases according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) recommendations. Thus, we are asking community members to help by following these steps:

1. If you have ANY COVID-19 symptoms – get tested

• Do not go out, go to work or school while you are waiting for your results.

• Stay at home if you are feeling ill.

2. If you are positive:

• Stay home and isolate from everyone in your household. Isolation is 10 days (If you do not isolate from those you live with, it will extend their quarantine period).

• You will be contacted by the health department; please answer your phone or text. The call or text may be coming from our office or from a CMDHD staff cell phone number.

• Make a list of close contacts for the past 48 hours from when your symptoms started or when you had your test done if you did not have symptoms. Close contacts include anyone within 6 ft for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period, even with a mask on.

• Notify the close contacts you identified while you were contagious. They will need to self-quarantine for 14 days since the last day you were with them. If they develop symptoms, they should be tested. Once contacts are identified, staff and volunteers from the local and state health departments will contact them soon.

• If you need a letter for an employer, call your local CMDHD branch office and select extension 1405 to leave a message.

3. If you were notified that you are a close contact to a positive case:

• You may be notified by a school, a childcare, an employer, a family member, a friend, the new COVID-19 Alert App, a contact tracer or someone else working at the health department.

• Self-quarantine in your home for 14 days. Quarantine should begin the first full day after the last day you were with the positive case.

• Prevent anyone who does not reside in your household from entering the home.

• Answer the phone when the state or local health department calls. The call will come from 866-806-3447, MI COVID HELP or CMDHD.

• Consider getting tested, especially if you develop symptoms of COVID-19.

• Wear a mask when you are tested and if you must go out for any emergency.

• If you get tested and the results are negative, you MUST still complete 14 days of self-quarantine before resuming normal activities.

• If you need a letter for your employer, TraceForce, the company who is helping your local health department with contact tracing, can provide one for you.

• As a reminder, the local or state health department will never ask for your personal identification such as Social Security Number, driver’s license, credit card number, or financial information.

4. Lastly, consider downloading the MI COVID Alert app on your phone.

This app will allow you to notify your close contacts if you are positive, or, notify you if you have been in close contact with someone who is positive.

For COVID-19 testing sites, please visit michigan.gov/coronavirustest to find the closest testing site, or call 2-1-1.

Central Michigan District Health Department has a Coronavirus message center. Please call 989-773-5921 extension 1444 if you have any questions. Leave your name, phone number, county of residence, and a brief message. Staff will return calls as soon as possible. Businesses can also use this message center to report positive cases to the local health department.

This article has been brought to you by Central Michigan District Health Department, which serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon. Visit our website at cmdhd.org, LIKE Central Michigan District Health Department on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @CMiDHD.