Contact tracers falling behind amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Poll China Outbreak
Posted at 2:28 PM, Jan 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-07 22:22:35-05

San Luis Obispo County Public Health officials say contact tracers are unable to keep up with the surging number of COVID-19 cases.

As a result, the Public Health Department will no longer provide personalized isolation and quarantine orders to each individual who tests positive or who has been exposed to COVID-19.

Instead, officials have issued a Health Officer Order to Isolate or Quarantine, which applies to all those who test positive and their close contacts.

People who test positive will receive a text message or email notification with detailed instructions to isolate and directions to inform their close contacts. Health officials say even these notifications may be delayed as cases surge.

"The bottom line is, stay home if you are sick or if you test positive for COVID-19 with a lab test or a home test," Dr. Penny Borenstein, County Health Officer, said in a press release issued Friday. "If you're a close contact of someone with COVID-19 and aren't up-to-date with your vaccination, you need to quarantine. In either case, act immediately and do not wait to hear from a contact tracer or expect to receive a personal letter."

Isolation and quarantine instructions are available online at

The guidance reflects recent changes from the CDC and California Department of Public Health regarding isolation and quarantine duration.

It also includes links to forms that people may use to self-attest and receive documentation of their need to quarantine and their release from isolation or quarantine. Those who test positive may use their notification from Public Health, together with the general Health Officer Order, as documentation of their need to isolate.

County officials say employers and school administrators should accept these notifications and self-attestation documents as valid documentation of the need to isolate or quarantine and of release from isolation and quarantine, because Public Health is no longer able to provide personal letters for this purpose.

To learn more about San Luis Obispo County's coronavirus response, visit