It’s a tool being used in the fight against COVID-19
Baltimore, Md (KM) The Maryland Department of Health has launched a campaign to educate state residents about contact tracing. That’s where health officials work with patients who’ve contracted a disease, like COVID-19, to find out their contacts, and contact those individuals and have them tested for the virus.
“Contact tracing’s been going on for decades in Maryland and for hundreds of years across the world . People aren’t not necessarily familiar with it. So we’re embarking on a campaign to educate people about it,” says Vicki Fretwell, the Special Assistant to the Secretary of Health.
The campaign includes educational videos, public service announcements, social media posts, website content, informational fact sheets, frequently asked questions and other materials.
Much of contact tracing involves calling people over the telephone, and asking questions. In this age of spoofing, many persons with caller ID on their phones may be reluctant to answer, thinking that it could be crank call or a scam. “It will say MD COVID if you have caller ID. And then the individual at the end of the phone can give you phone numbers and website you can go to to validate that the person you’re speaking with is part of the State Call Center, that doing these outreach calls, or the local health department,”: she says.
Part of the contact tracing is also working with patients who have an infectious disease, especially if these individuals must remain in quarantine. That includes purchasing food and other supplies for that individual who cannot venture out.
Fretwell says contact tracing has worked well in tracking down who has an infectious disease, as well as that person’s contacts so they can all be tested, and possibly put into isolation. “It was key to curing cholera in the mid-1800’s in England. We’ve use since then for smallpox in the United States and help curb that disease,” she said.
This slogan for this campaign is “Respond, Connect, Recover.”
By Kevin McManus