Dunn County COVID-19 update: contact tracers will always leave a message

By LeAnn R. Ralph

MENOMONIE    Do contact tracers leave a voicemail message?

“Yes,” said KT Gallagher, director of the Dunn County Health Department and the county’s health officer, during her weekly COVID-19 update on Facebook Live on October 9.

One of the questions posed to Gallagher noted that since it is election season, the person receives quite a few telephone calls from unknown telephone numbers, so the person often does not answer the phone.

Contact tracers will always leave a voicemail message with their first name, identifying themselves as a contact tracer for the Dunn County Health Department, and will leave a number where the contact tracer can be reached, Gallagher said.

If the voicemail sounds “sketchy,” you can always call the Dunn County Health Department because Dunn County knows all the names of the county’s contact tracers and those who are doing contact tracing for UW-Stout, she said.

You can reach the Dunn County Health Department at 715-232-2388.

Flu vaccine

Local hospitals and clinics are beginning to see the very first cases of influenza, Gallagher said.

The Dunn County Health Department is encouraging people to get their flu shot early, before the end of the month, she said.

A flu shot will help prevent the masking of COVID-19 symptoms. A flu shot also will help people to not catch the flu or to not become as sick as if they did not get a flu shot — which will help preserve hospital capacity, Gallagher said.

This year’s influenza vaccine is quadrivalent, which means it will protect against four different strains of influenza, she noted.

False positives

The gold standard for COVID-19 testing is the PCR test. When PCR testing (swab in the back of the nose/sinuses) is used, there are very few false positives, Gallagher said.

Very few false positives does not mean zero false positives, but it is still very few, she said.

Antigen testing, which looks for bits and pieces of the virus, can have some cross-reactivity with other coronaviruses, so there can be some false positives, Gallagher said.

Antibody testing also has a somewhat higher prevalence of false positives because of other coronaviruses, she said.

The PCR test is the one health departments rely on to identify confirmed cases of COVID-19, Gallagher said.

As of Friday afternoon, Dunn County had 745 confirmed cases of COVID-19. By Monday afternoon, the Wisconsin Department of Health Services website listed Dunn County has having 787 cases.

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