DIY contact tracing is a "last resort" in communities beset by COVID

But it’s happening now in health departments in Michigan and around the U.S. where contact tracing workforces have grown, but not fast enough to keep pace with the pandemic’s spread. To cope, the overburdened health departments have a new tactic: asking residents who test positive for the virus to do their own contact tracing…

In Michigan’s rural northern peninsula, a public health district spanning five counties warned residents last month that their tracers were overwhelmed, and they might not receive a call at all, despite testing positive. The health workers had to focus their efforts on residents over 65, teens and children attending school in person, and people living in group settings.

In the state’s southwest corner, contact tracers in Van Buren and Cass counties can no longer keep up with their calls. It’s the same situation in Berrien County: “If you test positive, take action immediately by isolating and notifying close contacts,” the Berrien County health officer urged residents in a press release.