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Department of Health Offers Biweekly Update On COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, Monitoring Efforts

05/19/2021

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Health (DOH) today shared a bi-weekly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data, encouraging Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app, as more than 884,000 have already done, to aid in contact tracing efforts.

“Case investigations and contact tracing remain a critical effort in our COVID-19 response,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “While the COVID-19 vaccine is our latest tool in the tool box to be protected from the virus, we must remember to answer the call from public health professionals as well as wear a mask, practice social distancing and continue to wash our hands frequently."

Here’s how the contact-tracing process works:

A person with a positive COVID-19 result is contacted by a case investigator – a public health professional – to gather information and offer guidance. Between April 24 through May 8, public health professionals completed 12,582 case investigations. This equates to 32 percent of positive cases reported over those two weeks.

Contact tracers take the case investigator reports and reach out to contacts identified in the reports. Contact tracers reached out to individuals to perform digital case investigations through the Connect & Protect Form. During this reporting period, there were 15,225 calls to reach  8,455 individuals, successfully. Of the 7,129 that were sent forms or 2,845 were returned.

Since the implementation of the Connect & Protect form on Dec. 21, 2020 through May 8, the department has received 30,956 completed forms.

With the close contacts collected during the case investigation, approximately 1,330 contact tracers worked to perform contact tracing. Between April 25 and May 8 there have been:

·         13,317 contacts have been processed for areas where PA DOH has jurisdiction;

·         8,414 people have been effectively reached to communicate their quarantine status and offer ongoing symptom monitoring; 

·         4,197 people were not reached; and

·         805 were still in the process of being contacted.

The Department of Health will continue these contact tracing updates on a monthly basis moving forward. The next update will be made on Tuesday, June 15, 2021.

How you can help:

·         Answer the call, then fill out the Connect & Protect form. A call from a case investigator will come in from a caller named, “PA Dept of Health,” so don’t be afraid to answer the call. The caller is a health professional who will provide you with valuable information and help you keep someone else from also contracting COVID-19.

·         Download the COVID-19 app. Since the Department of Health launched  COVID Alert PA on Sept. 22, the department has made updates to allow 13- through 17-year-old residents with parental consent to download the app, which is now available in four new languages. This app is interoperable with 22 other states that also utilize the same notification exposure app technology.

·         You can find more information on the state’s contact tracing efforts at the Department of Health’s website here.

The Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient to all Pennsylvanians: 

·         All Pennsylvanians age 12 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. Use Vaccine Finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.

·         A commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process for getting one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the vaccination process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

·         All of the locations that received vaccine and how much they have received can be found on the COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution webpage.

·         Vaccine dashboard data can also be found on the website to find more information on the doses administered and showcase demographic information.

·        The Unite Against COVID Weekly Update is a round-up of news you can use and answers to your most pressing vaccine questions – delivered directly to your inbox every week.

Frequently asked questions can be found here

MEDIA CONTACT: Mark O'Neill - ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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