Shelby County officials working to track spread of coronavirus

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department is looking for more people to help with tracing the spread of the coronavirus. 

There are 405 total cases of COVID-19 in Shelby County, an increase of 36 cases in a day. The Shelby County Health Department said more than 4,665 people have been tested for COVID-19.

The three deaths were of people between the ages of 50 and 60. They were not identified.

The large number of cases shows the big task to trace each case and who they were in direct contact with. 

The health department director said a team of about of about 20-30 people work every day to trace the virus.

They look at each case, see who that infected person came in contact with, then reach out to those they think need to be quarantined. That typically happens by phone. 

And that workload is still growing.

“Generally, we are going to have upstairs, 20 to 30 people a day here, seven days a week” Health Department Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter said. “We are going to add somewhere between 25 to 50 volunteers who will help with that contact tracing as the numbers go up, and those are volunteers who are skilled like medical students, nursing students and others who have some clinical background.”

The majority of the Shelby County cases in the area are in people younger than 60, Haushalter said.

Haushalter said more people had been tested in affluent areas in the county, where people have more access to insurance, but said adequate testing was being done throughout the county.

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