The City of Watertown and Watertown Department of Public Health is informing the community of the necessity to move to the next level of contact tracing response.

The move comes after a significant surge in positive cases of COVID-19 in the community. The city’s seven-day average is currently 26 cases per day.

Public Health Director Carol Quest stated, “After we reach a positive case load of more than 24 positive cases per day in a five-day rolling period, our contact tracers are not able to reach all individuals who have tested positive in a 24-hour period. The notification time increases to 48-hours and even then we can only do sensitive contact tracing. This means we will only notify household members, cases related to health care settings, schools and significant others.”

“We are in a very concerning position as a city, and we need our residents to pull together and remember that small steps make huge impacts,” Mayor Emily McFarland said. “Changing one thing in your daily routine can help mitigate the spread of the virus. Our public health department is working constantly to ensure people are notified of positive results as quickly as possible. At this moment, they simply cannot keep up with the high volume of positive cases that are occurring on a daily basis."

McFarland said the city's EMS numbers were down in March and April, but in the last two months or so the city has nearly entirely recovered those numbers.

"Our health care systems are in crisis staffing," McFarland said. "This isn’t just something we can brush off, or wish away.”

The City of Watertown is asking residents to remember how critical it is to continue to wear their face coverings, continue to practice social distancing, do not gather in groups outside of each household, and stay home if they are experiencing illness.

"These small steps make huge impacts in slowing the spread of COVID-19," Quest said.

For local information and statistics please visit https://www.ci.watertown.wi.us/covid- 19_community_updates/index.php

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