The surge of positive COVID-19 cases in Langlade County has led the Langlade County Health Department to follow recent modifications to contact tracing procedures during the surge.

The prioritization structure for notification of contacts involving a positive COVID-19 case will now focus on higher priority household contacts (those living in the household) and high intensity contacts outside the household (boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, close working associates, etc.), said Ron Barger, director.

Other modifications to contact tracing include: use of the shortened version of the interview form for case and contact investigations, making fewer attempts to contact individuals who test positive before classifying them as “unreachable” and supporting people who test positive for COVID-19 in notifying their own close contacts to disseminate education and instructions about testing and quarantine.

“These modifications will remain in place until we see a decrease in the number of daily positive cases or contact tracing capacity at DHS improves,” Barger said. “With the spike in positive cases, I encourage all citizens to follow CDC and DHS guidelines such as wearing face masks, social distancing, washing hands and sanitizing surfaces. If you are contacted by one of our staff regarding potential exposure to COVID-19, please cooperate and answer their questions. This will help us to inform others that they may need to be tested and to help decrease the spread of this disease in our community.”

As of 7:45 a.m. Tuesday, the county reported 485 positive and 204 active cases. Also, 278 recovered cases were reported. Langlade County is reporting 4,574 tests administered, with 4,089 returning as negative.

County officials have reported three deaths from the virus. Officials did not respond to a request for information on the third death, which was first reported Monday at the department’s Facebook page.