Due to the unprecedented size, scale and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic, state and local public health agencies need extensive contact tracing support. State and local health and human services agencies are working now to hire skilled contact tracers to help safely reopen local economies.
Conduent can help states quickly ramp up their contact tracing community resources, by adding skilled case managers, disease investigators, contact tracing tools and trained personnel, or even contact center support services. We have the skilled personnel, proven tools and contact center resources to help you engage with people and resolve your state’s contact tracing challenges.
To help everyone better understand how and why this is needed, here’s a handy list of five things to understand about contact tracing:
- Scientists and global public health authorities agree, no country or region can safely reopen without significant testing, contact tracing, and isolating of those who test positive for COVID-19. While the actual number of contact tracers needed may vary, the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) recommends 30 workers per 100,000 constituents are needed to overcome the COVID-19 pandemic. Contact tracing is a cornerstone of public health surveillance and has been used to overcome pandemics from Smallpox to Ebola, to H1N1 and SARS.
- In the U.S., state and local health and human services agencies must find a way to quickly ramp up contact tracing to track and monitor COVID-19 cases. The CDC offers specific guidelines for state and local public health agencies, explaining that contact tracers must “quickly locate and talk with patients, assist in arranging for patients to isolate themselves, and work with patients to identify people with whom the patients have been in close contact so the contact tracer can locate them.”
- Rising federal COVID-19 funding, combined with state requirements to quickly shift agency personnel to remote work, start COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, in addition to ramping up unemployment and social support services, is driving states to search for ways to quickly meet surging constituent service demands. Recent research from eRepublic indicates IT spending for state and local government Health and Human Services is growing faster than most other public sector areas and is on track to reach $28.6 billion in 2020.
- To track and monitor patients and those exposed to COVID-19, state and local public health agencies must enlist skilled contact tracers trained to use multiple investigative techniques. Although technological tools such as Maven can help track, monitor and report on cases of COVID-19, no tools available can replace those elements where a human touch is required. As the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health reports, contact tracers must assess whether people need help during quarantine periods. “They must understand each contact’s living arrangements, whether they share a bathroom, and if they can take necessary steps to reduce transmission risk.” Not all patients can respond to email or ‘app’ requests once diagnosed, for example. Not all patients have the means to self-quarantine without assistance such as food, shelter, or medical interventions. This is why the currently proposed U.S. congressional funding bill includes an estimated $46 billion to cover the cost of 100,000 contact tracers, along with hotels, food, and medical resources for patients and contacts during quarantine periods.
- As of June 1st, approximately 6 million people worldwide have been confirmed infected, and more than 400,000 have died, including more than 106,000 in the U.S., according to research from Johns Hopkins University. Because COVID-19 is so highly infectious and peaks on or before symptom onset, contact tracing is most effective when implemented early, according to recent research from the medical journal Nature. The quicker states, localities and territories can ramp up contact tracing to help contain the spread, the better positioned they will be to make informed decisions to protect people, at least until a vaccine is made widely available.
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