Health officials seek Alaskans' help with virus notification

    Juneau, Alaska (AP) - State health officials are asking Alaskans who test positive for COVID-19 to notify people they have been in close contact with.

    That is because a surge in cases has created a backlog in contact tracing investigations.

    The state epidemiologist says contact tracers have been forced to “triage” cases in efforts to reach people most at risk for severe symptoms and those most likely to spread the disease.

    A state health department spokesperson didn't immediately answer questions about whether additional resources announced in late October are in place.

    At that time, Gov. Mike Dunleavy and the state health department said they planned to expand contact tracing using the National Guard and University of Alaska Anchorage staff.

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