By WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Authorities in a western Wisconsin county say they are overwhelmed with COVID-19 cases and are asking infected individuals to help with their own contact tracing.

Health officials in Pierce County released a statement Tuesday saying that due to the surge of new infections they are having to make “gut-wrenching decisions” about which disease prevention activities to continue.

This comes on a day where Wisconsin once again saw record highs for daily new COVID cases, with more than 5,700 total, and another 52 deaths. There have been 2,102 deaths in the state since the start of the pandemic.

“Despite preparing for an increase in cases by hiring and training additional contact tracing staff, we do not have the capacity to handle the large surge of cases we are currently seeing,” said AZ Snyder, the county’s public health director. “We are still contacting people who test positive, but we need their help in notifying their contacts and telling them to quarantine.”

For those who test positive in the county, health officials want them to contact those close to them and tell them to quarantine for 14 days and consider getting tested. Officials advise that those who test positive for COVID-19 were infectious two days prior to showing symptoms.

Anyone who tested positive and went to work while infectious is asked to call their employers and tell them to identify and exclude anyone with whom they had close contact.

Health officials say that in the last month, Pierce County went from receiving 40 to 156 new cases in a week. Also last month, there was a 50% increase in the number of COVID-19 patients in western Wisconsin hospitals.

Since the start of the outbreak, Wisconsin has documented more than 232,000 coronavirus cases and 2,050 deaths.

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