Harrisburg, PA - The Department of Health (DOH) today shared a 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 877,000 have already done, to aid in contact tracing efforts.
“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, wear a mask, practice social distancing and continue to wash our hands frequently,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said.
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. For the week ending April 17, public health professionals completed 8,764 case investigations. This equates to 26 percent of positive cases reported for the week.
Contact tracers take the case investigator reports and reach out to contacts identified in the reports. A total of 200 contact tracers reached out to individuals to perform digital case investigations through the Connect & Protect Form. During this reporting week, there were 10,463 calls to reach 59 percent, or 6,148 individuals, successfully. Of the 5,234 that were sent forms, 38 percent, or 1,973 were returned.
Since the implementation of the Connect & Protect form on Dec. 21, 2020 through April 17, the department has received 25,512 completed forms.
With the close contacts collected during the case investigation, 1,538 contact tracers worked to perform contact tracing. Between April 11 and April 17 there have been:
- 8,603 contacts processed for areas where PA DOH has jurisdiction;
- 5,663 people, or 66 percent of the total contacts identified and effectively reached to communicate their quarantine status and offer ongoing symptom monitoring;
- 2,149 people, or about 25 percent of the total contacts, not reached; and
- 791 still in the process of being contacted.
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.
While vaccine supply from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health is working to ensure the vaccine is provided in a way that is ethical, equitable and efficient.
- All Pennsylvanians 16 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. You can give find vaccine providers on the map here.
- 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 provider map to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
- 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.
- Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking on the Plan Feedback Form square under Popular Vaccine Topics here.
- Frequently asked questions can be found here.
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