Contact tracing 101

contact tracing

Contact tracing has been extremely effective in fighting previous epidemics, such as Ebola and SARS. With COVID-19, one of the most infectious diseases the world has encountered, contact tracing has become more critical than ever. It is a measure that mobilizes, not only healthcare providers but also businesses and individual citizens, to slow the spread of the disease.

What is contact tracing?

Through contact tracing, service providers work with a recently diagnosed person to try and track down everyone with whom he or she has had close contact during the infectious period. The people in question are then contacted and informed of the fact that they may possibly be infected, and are educated as to what to do to prevent infection from spreading further. 

“Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill,” the Center for Disease Control (CDC) explains. 

Contact tracing is absolutely critical in the fight against COVID-19; the full reopening of the country depends on it.

How does it work?

Tracking down every person with whom a patient has had contact – that sounds easier said than done. It certainly can be a process that requires a thorough and systematic approach from healthcare staff, and care and cooperation from the patient and all those potentially at risk of infection. When a person is diagnosed, they are asked a list of questions regarding their movements in the past two weeks: where they work, who they have spent time with, restaurants and stores they have visited, and so on. Tracers will then contact all people and places named by the patient and inform them that they have potentially been exposed to COVID-19. The patient’s anonymity is maintained and all affected people are told to take the necessary precautions to ensure that there is no further spreading of the disease.

Healthcare consulting and medical project management contractors, Grace Federal Solutions LLC has been awarded the contact tracing contract for the state of North Carolina. For more information about this service, contact us.

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