WHAT IS COVID-19 CONTACT TRACING?
COVID-19 continues to present a major public health challenge throughout the United States and locally. Until there is a proven treatment or a vaccine, we will all need to be vigilant by practicing social distancing, wearing a face mask when in public, and proper hand hygiene.
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is working with local Boards of Health to contact those who tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to the virus to identify others who may have been exposed to the virus.
“COVID-19 remains a challenge for the general public and health care providers throughout Massachusetts,” says Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital – Plymouth Infection Prevention Manager Kim Teves, CIC MT ASCP. “Anyone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 will be contacted by their local Board of Health to identify others they may have come in contact with in an effort to further reduce the spread of COVID-19,” adds Teves.
The following contact tracing information is provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and Partners in Health.
WHY YOUR HELP MATTERS
People in Massachusetts have been reaching out to ask what they can do to help during the COVID-19 crisis. Through what’s called contact tracing, we are reaching out to everyone who tested positive and people who have been exposed. We are proud to be the first state in the nation to initiate contact tracing and your participation is critical to our shared success. Contact tracing is your way to impact the lives of many in our state and beyond and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
HOW DOES CONTRACT TRACING WORK?
First, if you test positive, we will connect you with the support and resources, you may need through quarantine. Then with your collaboration, the COVID Community Team will identify and reach out via phone and text to anyone you’ve been in contact with to trace and contain the onward spread of the virus. Through this contact tracing, we will be able to better arrange testing, as well as medical and quarantine support for yourself and your loved ones. It is important to note that we will not release your name to anyone. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is.
HOW CAN I VERIFY MA COVID TEAM IS CALLING?
Our phone calls will use the prefix 833 and 857 and your phone will say the call is from “MA COVID Team.” Calls will be made daily from 8 am to 8 pm.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE CALL?
When we call, a MA COVID team member will ask you for a list of all the people you were within six feet of during the two days before you had symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, we’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your diagnosis. We will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone you tell us about, so they can be called and cared for.
We will encourage you to let your contacts know about your illness, but we will not be sharing your information with them. We’ll call your contacts and let them know they have been exposed so they can get tested, but not tell them your name.
If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the MA COVID team member will also discuss any needs you may have and may connect you with a care resource coordinator who will help you get the support you need. Throughout your illness, a MA COVID team member or your local board of health will check in to monitor your symptoms and needs.
WHY COMMUNITY TRACING MATTERS
Although social distancing has been proven effective in slowing the spread of the virus, there is more that we can do to take care of each other. With contact tracing in place, we can track the spread and reduce additional exposure to others by encouraging testing, supporting quarantine and social distancing. Many people who have COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms and don’t realize that they may be spreading the virus. So, if you get a call keep your family and friends safe by answering the call. We are all in this together and by sharing information and listening to the direction of the Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC), we can spread the word to stop the virus.
WHAT IS THE COMMUNITY TRACING COLLABORATIVE?
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, along with Partners in Health, have created the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative. The program focuses on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to help protect others who have been potentially exposed to the virus.
The COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative’s goal is to keep you healthy and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Your participation in contact tracing will not only help connect you to medical support and resources, answering the call will keep your loved ones and community safe.
For more information, go to: https://www.mass.gov/lists/covid-19-contact-tracing-resources-and-information.