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Contact tracing for the President

Published: Oct. 2, 2020 at 5:02 PM EDT|Updated: Oct. 2, 2020 at 5:30 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -Donald Trump announced early this morning that he and the First Lady tested positive for COVID-19.

With a number of his close aides having also tested positive, 16 News Now tells us how contact tracing works for someone in close contact with so many others.

Health officials are likely casting a wide net with the number of speaking engagements the President attended in the past week.

Gillian Conrad with the Berrien County Health Department tells 16 News Now contact tracing starts once they’re able to interview someone who’s tested positive for COVID-19 .

She says the next step is to identify people who had close contact with the positive case as early as 48 to 72 hours before symptoms or diagnosis.

“These 48 hours before symptom onset or before a positive test is crucial as that is the time frame when a person could have been infectious and could have been spreading the virus to other people,” said Berrien County Health Department Communications Specialist Gillan Conrad.

Conrad says close contact is when a person has been within six feet of someone for more than 15 minutes who has tested positive for the virus.

“Then we gather a list of all the people that have been around that person within that 48-hour window and we make a whole lot of phone calls, and we try to see if we can try to get a hold of them and we let them know of their potential exposure,” Conrad said.

For Trump, this could be anyone who’s spent more than 15 minutes within six feet of him since as early as Tuesday, when he shared a stage with Joe Biden for the first presidential debate.

We’ve seen reports of people who attended the Rose Garden event receiving positive test results, however, those close to Trump during the event aren’t the ones being linked to his case.

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