When the number of Labette County residents in quarantine increased, the Labette County Health Department asked the state to help with contact tracing.

That has proved difficult given that the state’s phone number has a different area code, Labette County Health Department Administrator Lisa Stivers said.

As of Thursday, Labette County had 87 active COVID-19 cases. Six people have died from COVID in the county and 19 have been hospitalized since the pandemic began. Five residents are currently hospitalized. In all, Labette County has had 506 COVID cases since the pandemic.

Stivers wrote in an email Thursday that after the health department had over 400 people in quarantine, she had to ask the Kansas Department of Health and Environment to help with contact tracing.

“We are still doing the investigation on every positive case and following their household contacts through their quarantine,” Stivers said in the statement.

Non-household contacts (school, work, social) are being sent to the state for tracing, she said.

She asked school officials to tell parents when children are sent home that the state would be calling and it would be a 785 area code from Topeka. 

Stivers said because of the volume of people KDHE contacts, KDHE staff tries to make the initial calls within 24 hours of when the local health department notifies them. Sometimes it takes a little longer, she said.

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