As the fall resurgence of OCIVD-19 continues to affect our region, health officials are stressing the importance of testing and contact tracing
In Pennsylvania there are over 1,600 contact tracers who are working to help stop the spread of COVID-19. Pennsylvania’s director of testing and contact tracing, Michael Huff stressed the process is completely confidential.
“Contact investigators and contact tracers immediately identity and interview people with covid-19 disease. They support isolation of those infected, they alert those of their exposure and assess their symptoms and risk and provide instructions for next steps. And most importantly link those with symptoms to testing and case,” said Huff.
With significant numbers of OCIVD-19 cases in the state, the dept. of health works to prioritize cases which receive contact tracing first.
“We are looking at the people who are absolutely most vulnerable so I would describe to you that individuals who live in long term care facilities and congregative settings like that that have the potential to not only spread the disease but the potential for death. We are looking at people who have underlying health conditions that again if they have the disease it would result in more serious illness or death,” said Huff.
In areas where community spread is the main cause of the rise in cases, the dept. of health sets up testing sights. Like the one which opened this week at the Blair County Convention Center.
“There are no requirements, no referrals or anything. It’s just show up and be tested. You are going to need your driver’s license, or some type of identification and they would like for you to have insurance information if you have it. There is no cost to anyone being tested, whether you’re symptomatic, asymptomatic, whatever reason you are going to be tested are fine,” said Blair County’s EMA director, Mark Taylor.
Officials are also stressing the importance of answering the phone to contact tracers and providing accurate information. This could help save people’s lives.
“There does seem to be a little bit of concern that people who are being called for contact tracing aren’t coming forward and passing along information that would help to keep the contact tracing going,” said Taylor. “So, it’s very important that when people are called that they were exposed to someone who tested positive that they follow those guidelines and share any people that they may have come in contact with,” he added.