Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services is altering its COVID-19 contact tracing process because of record high cases, according to a Wednesday news release.

The modified process, which began Tuesday, prioritizes contacting the most recent positive cases by isolating them and quarantining their close contacts.

Some residents will not be contacted by an investigator via phone, according to the release. Instead, they will receive an informational packet in the mail detailing isolation and quarantine instructions for both the person infected and their close contacts. The department will also no longer estimate a time frame during which they should expect to be contacted.

The Health Department employs 15 full-time case investigators, as well as additional staff at the department and MU. Those investigators can manage about 80 cases per weekday and less on weekends, according to the release, but in the last two weeks, the county has recorded nearly twice that number daily.

In July, the department was quickly overwhelmed by contact tracing as the number of positive cases surged, according to previous Missourian reporting.

Boone County reported 103 new cases Tuesday, according to its COVID-19 dashboard. The county has 1,197 total active cases and 38 current hospitalizations. The county also reported two deaths Tuesday, bringing the death toll in Boone County to 21.

For more COVID-19 related news, see our section dedicated to COVID-19 updates.
  • Education reporter, fall 2020 Studying magazine editing journalism. Reach me at, or in the newsroom 882-5700.

  • Galen Bacharier is an assistant city editor at the Missourian. He has reported on higher education, state government and breaking news. Reach him at or on Twitter @galenbacharier.

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