Contact tracing is a key part of the strategy for corralling coronavirus. (University of Washington Photo)
The Washington State Department of Health is in the early stages of a massive effort to interview COVID-19 patients and track down those who might have been infected by those patients.
Contact tracing is a tried and true technique, typically used to stem the spread of infectious diseases ranging from tuberculosis to measles to gonorrhea. Now it’s part of the strategy for getting the coronavirus pandemic under control.
“Contact tracing is going to be an essential part of our reopening and containment efforts moving forward,” said Janet Baseman, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. “We need to trace every contact possible, because every contact counts in stopping this disease.”
But contact tracing is a time-intensive process that involves interviewing each person who has tested positive for COVID-19, determining who’s recently been in close contact with that person, contacting those people, getting them tested — and then starting over with those who test positive.
Previously: How testing and contact tracing work together to quell COVID-19
The state’s tally of confirmed cases passed the 19,000 mark this week, and roughly 150 new …read more