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Health professionals concerned over COVID-19 cases overwhelming contact tracers

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FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) – Health professionals are urging you to follow CDC guidelines this holiday season, not only to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but also to help with contact tracing.

Dr. Joel Tumlinson with the Arkansas Department of Health said the recent spike in cases was a result of Halloween. This could be the case again after Thanksgiving and Christmas and contact tracing is only becoming more difficult.

“What we’re seeing right now with contact tracing- the more cases that we have as a state, as those numbers go up so high with new cases every day, it’s harder to keep up with case investigation and contact tracing,” he said.

Dr. Tumlinson said this is something we’re still recovering from as a result of last month.

“We saw from Halloween if you go to a Halloween party or gathering, you may not know the contact information of all the people there,” he said.

Contact tracers overwhelmed by the recent spike of cases also concerns local hospitals. Washington Regional President, Dr. Larry Shackleford, said timing is everything right now.

“I think these next couple of weeks are really important,” he said.

Because of this, Dr. Shackleford said to be mindful through the end of the year to help slow the spread and take some burden off contact tracers.

“I know in our family we’ve had to have some really difficult discussions about how thanksgiving is going to be different this week,” he said.

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