COVID contact tracers tracking the spread to prevent it from spreading further

Published: Jul. 6, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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Eileen Thompson is a contact tracer with the Toledo Lucas County Health Department. She and her staff spend hours tracking down people in Lucas County who were or could have been exposed to COVID-19. “We work to identify who the cases are and then collect information from them to determine who we need to ask to quarantine because they were exposed to that case.”

If a positive test is confirmed, Eileen contacts that patient and starts tracking everyone that person was in contact with two days prior to symptoms. “If they do at some point have symptoms, then we want them to get tested and we want them to isolate.”

Everyone who has confirmed contact with a positive COVID case is entered into a massive database called the Ohio Contact Tracing System. “We enter them into the system that the state has developed and for every day they will get a text or a phone call that checks in with them sees how they’re doing and see if they're developing symptoms.”

If the answer is yes they’ve developed symptoms, then it triggers a new round of monitoring. It’s a process that easily takes hours and can cover dozens of people. “We might get a case at 8 am and we might be working on it until 5 in the evening just going through and making sure that we exhaust every avenue we can.”

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