She or other nurses call those people. If they already have symptoms, they are treated as probable cases and asked to self-isolate. If they don’t, they are asked to quarantine, avoiding others for two weeks. If they develop symptoms, they are asked to call their doctor and discuss possible testing.
Low-risk contacts are not being called, and follow-up calls to check on people with COVID-19 and their higher-risk contacts were stopped in late March because the volume of work increased, Gutierrez said.
However, the number of contacts per person has generally declined in recent weeks as more people are staying at home. “It makes our web of contacts a lot smaller and decreases the spread,” she said.
Gutierrez, 27, who grew up in Fitchburg and graduated from UW-Madison, started working at the local health department two years ago after getting a nursing degree at Edgewood College.
She misses doing home visits with pregnant women and new mothers, but said responding to the pandemic and providing worried patients and contacts helpful information is rewarding.
“We’re going to continue to do contact tracing and follow-up for as long as we need to,” she said. “It is super important work.”
Photos: A look at how COVID-19 is affecting Wisconsin