SAN LUIS OBISPO — As COVID-19 cases increase in San Luis Obispo County, more people may come into close contact with someone who tests positive for the virus. Local health officials ask those individuals to self-quarantine until they get a call from a contact tracer.
“Contact tracers are working double-pace to quickly inform contacts that they may have been exposed, but our caseload continues to increase, which means there is a delay,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer. “If you have been in close contact with someone who has recently tested positive, please stay home and separate yourself from others until you hear from a contact tracer. Only leave the house during this time to get tested or seek health care. We need your help to break the chain of infection.”
There are currently more than 800 active cases of COVID-19 in SLO County, most of whom are recovering at home. However, this the greatest number of active local cases at one time and local contact tracers are struggling to keep up to quickly inform contacts of possible exposure. In some cases, it may take a few days for a contact tracer to call a close contact of a known case.
“Close contact” is defined as being within six feet of a person for at least 15 minutes total over a period of 24 hours when they are sick, during the two days before they started to feel sick, or two days before they got tested if they never felt sick.
It can take as little as two days to as many as 14 days after being near someone with COVID-19 to feel any symptoms or know if you are infected. Some people who are infected never have symptoms but can still spread the disease to others, which is why separating yourself if you think you’ve been exposed can help stop the spread.
For updates on COVID-19 in SLO County, visit ReadySLO.org or call the recorded Public Health Information Line at 805-788-2903. A staffed phone assistance center at 805-543-2444 is available Monday to Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., to assist with questions related to COVID-19.