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What does “epi-linked” mean? Does this factor into final case counts?

It is worthwhile to address some misinformation about this concept circulating in the community. Local health department call positive cases and ask questions about where they have been and who they have been around during their infectious period. People identified in this process are called “close contacts” and are at high-risk for developing COVID-19 because of their exposure to a positive individual. These individuals are notified of their exposure and asked to quarantine for 14 days while watching for symptoms. These actions have the effect of building a “wall” around the infection and preventing the further spread.

The way health officials track this information is in EpiTrax. It is accurate to say that the contacts of positive cases are “epi-linked,” meaning they are connected to one another through some common source, such as a person or place. That way, if close contacts develop COVID-19, JCDHE knows the source of the infection and can use the information to deploy additional mitigation techniques. It is NOT accurate to say that “epi-linked” individuals are included in case counts. These are separate processes.