Pennsylvanians, answer the phone! Contact tracing is key to stopping COVID
Watch: COVID-19 survivors relive their battle
York County District Judge James H. Morgan and his wife Tonya Thompson-Morgan, a social activist, relive their experience with COVID-19.
Cameron Clark, York Daily Record
With the increase in coronavirus outbreaks, hospitals and health departments say contact tracing – a critical part of controlling the spread of the pandemic – will be more difficult, forcing Pennsylvania to shift the focus from these now. efforts towards those diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six days.
Local health services say they have anticipated an increase, and the state health service has issued new guidelines for a modified strategy to protect the most vulnerable populations from the consequences of severe infection in the city. community.
“As the burden of COVID-19 worsens, health departments will prioritize which cases to investigate and which contacts to find,” said Michael Huff, the state’s director of testing and contact tracing. “Implementation must be guided by what is feasible, practical and acceptable.”
Following: Pennsylvania could run out of intensive care beds by next week as COVID patients overwhelm hospitals
People, he added, contract the disease without knowing where they got it from. And with just 150 case investigators and 1,672 contact tracers working with the Department of Health, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the workload.
In addition to focusing on people diagnosed in the past six days, contact tracers prioritize people who visit, live or work in a care facility or commute to a job in a high density workplace. .
Pennsylvania reported an additional 6,669 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 81 new virus-related deaths on Tuesday. Statewide, there have been 321,070 confirmed cases and 9,951 deaths.
Huff said that of the nearly 35,000 positive cases reported in the past week, 23% of those who tested positive were contacted within 24 hours and 7% were contacted within 48 hours. However, of these, only 25% of people have had their cases successfully traced, with 96% of contacts refusing to quarantine.
This is extremely concerning, Huff noted, because COVID-19 patients and the people they interacted with during the 14-day incubation period could be spreading the disease without even knowing it.
âWhy? Because people don’t want to answer the phone,â Huff said. âPeople don’t realize how important it is to give the information we need to make sure we can control the disease. “
The Commonwealth is experiencing a substantial level of transmission in nearly all of its counties, indicating an alarming community spread, which Huff says is the result of large and small gatherings.
âThis indicates that in both of these settings, the spread of disease can happen very easily,â Huff said. âCertainly in small gatherings where we get a little too free to move around and maybe don’t take as much social distance. We’re less likely to wear masks. We’ve certainly seen a lot of data that shows that cases are. identified from these groups. “
Following: Pennsylvania schools must sign new COVID health protocols or go virtual by month’s end
As COVID-19 cases reach record highs in Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine recently announced new mitigation efforts to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
This included new guidelines for schools wishing to continue teaching students in person and a stay-at-home notice issued by the governor.