New digital contact tracing method includes phone number 844
OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – The emergence of the omicron variant has forced medical professionals into emergency mode as COVID-19 infections spread at a breakneck pace.
Doctors say anything to curb the spread will help, but preventing further infections would preserve public safety and give everyone a reprieve.
From hospital systems to restaurants and schools, everyone is feeling the effects of staffing shortages, and Douglas County Health Department staff believe the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services’ latest resource will help. to ensure the safety of the community.
This resource, called Text Nebraska, is an automated case investigation service that sends a survey to people who have tested positive for the virus.
“This allows the person to not only report to us and identify contacts, but also provide them with specific information on how to self-isolate if they are sick and how their contacts should self-quarantine. ‘they need it,’ said Justin Frederick, the supervisor of communicable disease epidemiology for the Douglas County Health Department.
HOW IT WORKS
Once the health department receives notification of a positive lab report, the department sends a text message from 844-774-7604 to the person who tested positive.
That person then has 24 hours to begin the investigation in the message, which asks you to provide details of where you traveled and who you may have met. It also has an option to provide the name and contact details of these people.
The department will then send the survey to people who may have been exposed and tell them how to proceed.
Frederick said it takes the guesswork and panic out of contact tracing, giving people the right tools to stay safe. “If a person has been exposed and is vaccinated, the CDC says they can continue to work as long as they wear a mask. If they are not vaccinated, they must be quarantined for five days. »
Douglas County Health Director Dr. Lindsay Huse said Thursday that “Text Nebraska is the next step in contact tracing, and that’s where you can help,” adding “Your response is needed because the number of cases makes it impossible for our staff to keep on demand.”
Text Nebraska is available in English and Spanish to all Nebraska residents age 19 and older.
Copyright 2022 WOWT. All rights reserved.