The CDC is coming up with new ways for people to protect themselves against and prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. One of the most effective methods that they have come up with is case investigation and contact tracing.
What is contact tracing?
According to the CDC’s website contact tracing is “part of the process of supporting patients and warning contacts of exposure in order to stop chains of transmission.” Contact tracing is used in the case of anyone who has a confirmed or very likely case of CoViD-19.
To accomplish contact tracing, health professionals work with the patients in order to figure out anyone that they have been in close contact with for longer than 15 minutes. Once they have been as thorough as possible, the health professionals are then responsible for contacting these individuals in order to warn them that they have been exposed to an infected person and ask them to observe quarantine for the recommended 14 days after suspected exposure whether they have symptoms or not. They are also asked to observe social distancing at all times if the need to go out in public arises. All contacts are further provided educational materials and support in order to better understand the risk of their situation. Those who were exposed are NEVER told the identity of the person who may have infected them for the patient’s protection and privacy.
Who are conducting the contact tracing?
All health professionals who act in this role of warning exposed individuals have an unyieldingly strict policy of confidentiality as all proper health professionals do. This includes the ability to maintain all confidentiality during interviews.
These people must be sensitive to the plights of others, both emotionally and culturally. They need to have a detailed understanding of medical profession terms and concepts of infection, exposure, symptoms of infection, and pre-symptomatic or asymptomatic infections. And they must also have the resourcefulness to be able to find ways to contact anyone who is at risk but may be reluctant to speak or difficult to get in contact with.
When someone becomes a confirmed case of the coronavirus, time is of the essence. The infectivity levels are incredibly high for this virus and its incubation period can be long. Once a case is definite, professionals need to alert the exposed parties as soon as possible to mitigate the risk for further individuals to be infected.