Health officials turn to contact tracing to slow the spread of Covid-19

Health officials turn to contact tracing to slow the spread of Covid-19
Posted at 5:04 PM, May 19, 2020

While waiting for a Covid-19 vaccine, health officials say tracking the spread of the sickness is key to controlling the infection rate. That means workers, known as contact tracers, are needed to map the outbreak.

However, some people have concerns about how their taxpayer dollars are being used for the job and others believe this will welcome new scams or even violate their privacy.

According to health officials, these positions are considered important.For every case of Covid-19 there's a history of places and people who were in contact with the person infected. Tracers help find them.

"They will call those individuals and they will never release those names of a case. What they'll do is say you were named as a contact to Covid-19. They'll talk to those individuals about their health," Dr. Tina Stefanski with LDH said. "They will make sure they're not symptomatic and just talk through what they should expect with signs. They will ask them to get tested and reduce exposure to people."

It's a way to not only stop the spread, but it's also providing jobs during the pandemic. "The state is anticipating that we may need as many as 700," Dr. Tina Stefanski said. "We're starting with a smaller number and will determine base on what the case load is on how to scale up from there . I believe we're starting with about 250 individuals and we will scale up, based on the need. "

According to Dr. Stefanski, contact tracers are nothing new.

"This is something we do all the time with Tuberculosis .It's been helpful. Louisiana for example has a very low rate of Tuberculosis this is something that's proven time and time again in public health to be an effective way in reducing,"

Tracers will call from the number 877-766-2130. Stefanski says for some people it might show up as "LDH". Health officials want you to save this number in your phone to avoid scammers.

Tracers will only ask you questions about your health . They won't ask for information like social security or bank account numbers.

If you do get a call and find it suspicious, call the department health to investigate.

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