LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- During an update on the COVID-19 pandemic on Thursday, officials with Louisville's health department said that tracing the disease can correlate to further reopening the economy. 

Although officials said the respiratory illness is still in every zip code in the city, a large number of Louisville's cases have not been hospitalized. Health officials said that's good news because it keeps the city's health care systems from being overwhelmed. 

Metro Government recently announced a contact-tracing contract with Louisville-based Lacuna Health, which is tracking down anyone who may have come in contact with someone who tested positive.

Health officials have used contact tracing for years to track other diseases, but Louisville's COVID-19 contact tracing operations began in May.

Contact tracing is crucial in getting COVID-19 under control, officials said. The quicker that can happen, they said the quicker the economy can get back to being fully operational.

Doctors and health officials are urging everyone to cooperate if someone from the contact-tracing team tries to contact you.

"If we can't determine who they might've exposed, our only other option is to broadcast broadly to the public, and that's really a last option because that's not ideal," said Dr. Sarah Moyer, the director of the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness. "That can really feed into fear and anxiety. But, if we can get the information we need from people about who we've been in contact with and we can contact them, then that's the best way we can prevent the spread."

Louisville has seen more than 3,300 COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began, and nearly 2,600 of those patients have recovered. Nearly 200 Louisville residents have died from the disease. 

The health department plans to share data soon that will show the effectiveness of contact tracing.

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