Contact tracing and COVID-19
When an infectious disease case is confirmed, public health professionals interview the patient to determine who else is at risk.
It's called contact tracing and it aims to limit the spread of infections. The public is gaining familiarity with the term amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but health departments and infection prevention experts have partnered for years to limit the spread of diseases like tuberculosis, pertussis and other infectious diseases.
COVID-19 spreads easily by people who may not know they're infected. To contain exposure, anyone who had contact with a person who contracted COVID-19 can opt to self-quarantine. It's especially important to interview those who had contact with vulnerable populations, workplaces and healthcare facilities.
In close partnership with local health departments, Gundersen supports contact tracing to limit the spread of COVID-19. Information collected about contacts of positive cases is entered into a disease surveillance system for public health officials.
We want to stress the importance of honesty. Interrupting the spread of COVID-19 can only be accomplished if public health officials know the number of contacts and whether the impacted person wore a face covering.
Transparency is necessary for success and is something that health departments have done for years with communicable diseases.