Why contact tracing is important in helping to slow the spread of COVID-19

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 5:27 PM EDT
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(WYMT) - Contact tracing is used to help prevent the spread of disease. Teresa Hunter, Public Health Director at the Bell County Health Department, said contact tracing has been used by health departments for decades.

“When we get a result of a positive case from a lab, we then contact that positive case," said Hunter.

Once that person is contacted by health officials, it is up to them to provide information on who they have been around. Hunter said being honest and transparent is key.

“That we can contact those and then go from there, as far as whether they need to be quarantined and or, you know, isolation," said Hunter.

Hunter said the health department is finding it difficult to contact trace when people do not want to name those they have been around.

“People may not want to miss work and they feel possibly guilty, hey I’m going to have to tell these people,” added Hunter.

Some people may not want to miss work or have students miss in-person classes. Hunter said guidelines are in place for contact tracing at schools.

“Every classroom is supposed to maintain basically a seating chart, I guess of what you would call a manifest, of who’s in what seat," said Hunter.

If there is a positive case of COVID-19 in a school, Hunter said working together helps slow the spread.

“It’s up to the health department, with the teacher, with that child’s parents, you know, everyone involved to determine who is possibly a contact," added Hunter.

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