The CDC says coronavirus “does not spread easily” by touching surfaces or objects. But it’s still ‘possible.’
Two important factors in Indiana’s ability to reopen for business lie in finding people infected with the corona virus – the testing section – and then finding people they can be infected with and letting them know about their exposure – the search section.
Public health officials routinely track contacts for other infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis or HIV, but never on a large scale as needed by the corona virus. To help meet demand, the state signed a $ 42 million contract with Maximus to oversee the call center with at least 500 contact tracers.
On May 18, Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said that the state now oversees contact tracing for 92 countries. Two days later he said that the state had received a fake contact tracker report that reached out and requested “inappropriate” information.
Here’s what you need to know about contact tracking:
What kind of questions should I expect the contact tracker to ask?
The only question they will ask is to verify your identity and ask if you have symptoms of coronavirus. Contact tracers will not ask for financial information or other personal information.
This call or text sounds suspicious. How do I know it’s legal?
The actual text message says that from the Indiana State Department of Health and the department is trying to contact you “about an important issue” regarding your health. Then it will ask you to call 833-670-0067 for more information. If there is a different number, it could be a fraud, so contact the Indiana State Department of Health.
How did the contact tracker get my name?
Contact tracers will only let you know that you have potential exposure. They will not tell you who that person is, just as if you tested positive for the corona virus, they will not reveal your identity to anyone you might have been infected with.
I feel fine, so why are they calling me?
Even though you feel fine, they will ask you to quarantine yourself at home for 14 days and monitor the symptoms. The idea behind quarantine is that people can infect other people with viruses before they start experiencing their own symptoms. So to make sure that doesn’t happen, you have to stay away from other people.
Is that the only message I receive?
After the initial call, you must receive a daily text or e-mail to assess your signs and symptoms. If you do not answer the text, you will be contacted by telephone.
What happens if I experience symptoms?
If you have symptoms, you should be tested for the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Even if the results are negative, you must continue to quarantine for two full weeks because you can test negative one day and be positive the next day.
And is the coronavirus test positive?
If you become a confirmed case now you will be asked to isolate yourself in your home, ideally with your own bathroom and bedroom to reduce the risk that you will infect others at home. Other people in your home will now be considered close contacts and are expected to be quarantined.
Will the country tell others about my status?
Have been there report elsewhere the health department shares information with law enforcement agencies to notify them in advance if they are called home with a person infected with the corona virus.
But Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box said on Friday that that did not happen in Indiana. Contact tracers will urge the sick person to tell the public safety officer who needs to come to their house that they are infected first so that the person can take appropriate precautions.
Can’t they check my cellphone data to find my close contact?
There was discussion elsewhere about using cell phones to determine the proximity of people to each other, but Indiana chose not to trace such contacts.
How many people were quarantined?
Every day Indiana has reported several hundred new cases of corona virus. Even if each of these people only had contact with two other people during the period of infection, the number rapidly increased.
Some countries, like Massachusetts, include the number of people in quarantine in their coronavirus statistics. Last week, for example, almost 23,800 people in Massachusetts is under quarantine.
At this point, Indiana did not include that information in its daily dashboard.
Why is all this necessary?
Public health officials believe this is the best way to stop the spread of highly contagious diseases such as COVID-19, in short asking us all to stay at home indefinitely. Asking people who are sick of quarantine can prevent them from accidentally infecting others and allowing the number of cases to skyrocket.
“I often equate this with forest fires,” said Thomas Duszynski, director of epidemiology education at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis Fairbanks School of Public Health. “The faster we can reach the burning embers before they burn, the sooner we can turn them off.”
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