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Department of Health Shares Weekly Data for COVID-19 Investigations, Contact Tracing, Monitoring Efforts

08/31/2020

Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Health today shared an update on Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing data.

“In order to successfully mitigate the spread of COVID-19, we use proven public health strategies such as case investigations, contact tracing efforts and ongoing monitoring and rely on Pennsylvanians to do their part to answer the call,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “We have a growing team of dedicated professionals equipped to do this work and truly make a difference, but we need our fellow Pennsylvanians to pick up the phone when they call, share where they went and who they came in contact with to complete a case investigation. We are all united in this together, so please make the right choice to answer the call, it will help to stop this virus in its tracks before it could affect more of our loved ones, co-workers or friends across the state.”

The contact tracing process is not possible without a case investigation by a public health professional. Between Sunday, August 16 and Saturday, August 22, there were 4,536 COVID-19 cases statewide and 78 percent of all cases had a case investigation started within 24 hours of receiving the positive report.

During the case investigation, public health professionals spend 30 to 60 minutes asking questions to ensure all potential close contacts are identified. They collect information about who the case came in contact with and where they went while they were infectious. Information collected during the case investigation process is not shared publicly unless doing so would further the response.

After the initial case investigation is complete, contact tracing begins. Within that same time period, August 16 to August 22, there were 1,242 contact tracing staff working with local and county health entities, partner organizations and the Regional Response Health Collaboration Program within the Department of Human Services. The total number of contact tracing staff has increased by 132 since last week as new staff is hired and onboarded through a partnership with Insight Global.

Of the 1,242 contact tracers there are 71 volunteers, 10 care resource managers, and 30 contact tracing supervisors. These staff monitored 9,335 contacts that were identified during the case investigations.

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

Pennsylvanians are reminded that mask-wearing is required when visiting businesses or in any setting outside the home where social distancing is difficult. Remember: My mask protects you; your mask protects me.

The Wolf Administration stresses the role Pennsylvanians play in helping to reduce the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover any coughs or sneezes with your elbow, not your hands.
  • Clean surfaces frequently.
  • Stay home to avoid spreading COVID-19, especially if you are unwell.
  • If you must go out, you are required to wear a mask when in a business or where it is difficult to maintain proper social distancing.

Updated Coronavirus Links: Press Releases, State Lab Photos, Graphics

MEDIA CONTACT: Nate Wardle - ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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