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

06/16/2021

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Health (DOH) today shared a monthly update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data, encouraging Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app, as more than 913,000 have already done, to aid in contact tracing efforts.

“Even as Pennsylvanians get vaccinated, 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 May 9 through June 9, public health professionals completed 10,182 case investigations. This equates to 31 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 13,358 calls to reach 6,998 individuals, successfully. Of the 5,726 that were sent forms or 2,358 were returned.

Since the implementation of the Connect & Protect form on Dec. 21, 2020 through June 9, the department has received 33,314 completed forms.

With the close contacts collected during the case investigation, approximately 1,200 contact tracers worked to perform contact tracing. Between May 9 and June 9 there have been:

  • 12,314 contacts have been processed for areas where PA DOH has jurisdiction;
  • 7,824 people have been effectively reached to communicate their quarantine status and offer ongoing symptom monitoring; 
  • 4,414 people were not reached; and
  • 76 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 Thursday, July 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.
  • 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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