MID-MICHIGAN -- After a recent increase in COVID-19 positive cases, the Central Michigan District Health Department reminds residents, businesses and visitors to take precautions against the spread.

"Upon receiving its first positive case back in March, Central Michigan District Health Department staff and volunteers have worked countless hours to conduct disease surveillance, investigations and contact tracing," a news release said Monday.

"We receive positive laboratory results of COVID-19 through private laboratories, healthcare providers and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services or when a business reports a positive case to us as a requirement of Executive Order 2020-145."

CONTACT TRACING

When someone tests positive for COVID-19, the CMDHD follows certain steps to trace possible exposure to others:

1. CMDHD first contacts the person who is positive by phone or text. This person is known as a "case."

2. They ask the person to make a list of other people they have been around (those they live with, work with or have spent time with), beginning 48 hours before they began having symptoms, or 48 hours before they went in to be tested.

3. They will ask the person who is positive to isolate themselves from others, which means to separate themselves (those who are sick with COVID-19 and those with no symptoms) from people who are not infected.

4. The CMDHD will contact anyone who is considered to be a close contact to the "case" and provide them information on what they need to do. Oftentimes, a close contact is asked to self-quarantine, which means to keep someone who might have been exposed to COVID-19 away from others.

5. The health department stays in contact with close contacts on a regular basis to make sure they are feeling well. If they start to have symptoms, the health department staff or volunteers can help them find a place to get tested and provide them with additional information.

6. Through the investigation process, if a person tests positive and they are around people who can not individually be contacted, or are unknown, then the local health department will put out a notice to the public in the form of a news release.

PREVENTION

In order to help keep our communities safe and healthy, the CMDHD ask the following:

• If you receive a phone call from its staff or volunteers, please answer the phone. It's important for to get information as quickly and accurately as possible to reduce the risk of others becoming infected.

• Please be kind to family, friends, or neighbors who have tested positive or have been exposed to COVID-19. Refrain from posting hurtful comments on social media or harassing others. It's important for those who have been exposed or are positive to concentrate on what they need to do to keep themselves and those around them healthy.

• Remember, just because someone tests positive doesn't mean they have symptoms. At least 40% of people with COVID-19 NEVER have any symptoms.

• Please remember that community organizations and businesses are working to comply with current recommendations and requirements from the state and/or their governing bodies.

• Get your information from credible sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, or your local health department.

• Wear a face covering or mask when you are indoors or in crowded outdoor areas (Executive Order 2020-153).

• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least twenty seconds.

• Keep a physical distance of 6 feet or more when you are inside or outside.

• Cover coughs, sneezes and avoid touching your face.

• Stay home when you are sick (work, school, social gatherings, events, etc.).

• Clean/disinfect all "high touch" surfaces every day with household cleaning spray or wipes.

• If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever and symptoms, such as cough or difficulty breathing, call your healthcare provider for medical advice.

• Lastly, please keep in mind that there are many people infected that we may never know about, and therefore cannot notify their contacts. You must assume anyone, including yourself, could have COVID-19 and follow all the precautions possible to prevent infection.

Central Michigan District Health Department has set up a Coronavirus message center. After hours, please call (989) 773-5921, ext. 1444, if you have any questions, leaving your name, phone number and county of residence. Staff will return calls as soon as possible. Businesses also may use this message center to report positive cases to the local health department.

Central Michigan District Health Department serves the counties of Arenac, Clare, Gladwin, Isabella, Osceola and Roscommon. More information may be found cmdhd.org, LIKE Central Michigan District Health Department on Facebook and follow the department on Twitter @CMiDHD.