Sunday, April 26, 2020

What You Need To Know If A Contact Tracer Calls

Gov. Charlie Baker announced this past week that the community tracing collaborative is a key part of figuring out how the coronavirus spreads — but it only works if everyone participates. 

Although social distancing has been proven effective in slowing the spread of the virus, there is more that can be done, and that’s where you can help. With contact tracing in place, the spread of the virus can be tracked and additional exposure reduced to others by encouraging testing, supporting quarantine and social distancing. Many people who have COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms and don’t realize that they may be spreading the virus. So if you get a call, all you have to do is pick up. We are all in this together and by sharing information and listening to the direction of the CTC, we can help to not just flatten the curve in Massachusetts, but bend it downward to reduce the number of cases and ultimately, save lives.

How It Works
The COVID Community Team will reach out via phone and text to confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and anyone they’ve been in contact with to trace and contain the onward spread of the virus by arranging testing, as well as medical and quarantine support. Over 30 community health centers are participating in the collaborative, calling people in their communities and neighborhoods to track the spread.
You name will not be released to anyone. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is. Your information will not be shared with other agencies, including immigration officials. Additionally, your name we will not released to anyone with whom you’ve been in contact. 

Phone calls will use the prefix 833 and 857 and your phone will say the call is from “MA COVID Team.” Calls will be made daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. All you have to do is answer the call. It’s that easy. 

What Happens During The Call
A case investigator will ask you for a list of all of the people you were within six feet of during the two days before you had symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, we’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your diagnosis. We will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone you tell us about, so they can be called and told about their exposure.

We will encourage you to let your contacts know about your illness, but we will not be sharing your information. We’ll call your contacts and let them know they have been exposed so they can get tested, but not tell them your name.

If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the case investigator will also discuss any needs you may have and may connect you with a care resource coordinator who will help you get the support you need. Throughout your illness, a case investigator or your local board of health will check in on you regularly to monitor your symptoms and need.

“Please pick up if you get that call,” Baker said. “This is your opportunity to help stop the spread of COVID-19 especially perhaps in your house, apartment, or neighborhood.” 

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