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Community reacts to Jackson-Madison Co. Health Dept. no longer performing COVID-19 contact tracing

JACKSON, TN ( WNBJ) - The health department in Madison County is updating its procedures when it comes to COVID-19.

Starting today, the Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department will no longer perform COVID-19 contact tracing. This change is a recommendation from the Tennessee Department of Health.

“We have been at this for two years and now the community has the knowledge. They know what to do if you’re sick. You stay home,” said Mallory Cooke, the Public Information Officer with the Jackson-Madison Co. Regional Health Department.

The Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department explained the change.

“Instead of us calling all positive cases, folks who test positive will receive a text message now from the Tennessee Department of Health. That will come from a 629 number. You’ll get a text message if you test positive and that will have the information about isolation and quarantine,” said Cooke.

People in the community expressed mixed views on the department no longer performing contact tracing.

One Jackson resident agreed with discontinuing contact tracing.

“This having to go in sign papers, have I been in contact with somebody that’s had it. There’s no way I can know the person I am standing next to or been around has had it. So, if they are dropping it that’s a good thing," said Jeffery Douglas, a Jackson resident.

Other people in the community disagree with the decision to stop contact tracing.

“I do think that you should be notified if you are in direct contact with somebody with COVID and I think you should be contacted. Hopefully, as long as this is around, I just think that’s the best thing to do to make people aware,” said Vickie Shell, a Medina resident.

The department will also no longer provide weekly COVID-19 updates on Wednesdays. That information will be available online at the Tennessee Department of Health website.

The Jackson-Madison County Regional Health Department will no longer provide personal letters documenting isolation and quarantine recommendations for a case and contacts. The department says you should show positive test results to employers instead.

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