More than 4,000 close contacts of COVID-19 cases have been identified and monitored to date throughout Pennsylvania, according to an announcement from the state’s Department of Health. The discoveries are due to the work of 500 trained contact tracers throughout Pennsylvania, including 130 state health nurses, as well as additional support from the six county health departments and four municipal health departments.
“We are now equipped with hundreds of contact tracers that can help us mitigate the spread of this virus, but we still need Pennsylvanians to be alert as COVID-19 remains a threat in our communities,” Rachel Levin, M.D, the Secretary of Health, said. “We encourage everyone to remain alert as we all continue to fight this ongoing virus.”
Public health professionals also received help and support from volunteers and case management technology tools that have the ability to track, manage, and evaluate efforts.
There were over 800 contract tracers that volunteered through the ServPA platform, at least 50 through AmeriCorps, and hundreds through other community organizations or academic institutions. Temple University has plans to onboard 200 students this month in order to help with contact tracing.
Regional consortiums across Pennsylvania will work to assess the number of contact tracers needed in each part of the state, help recruit contract tracers, provide access to further training and education, and coordinate accurate and consistent information and data. The initial membership began in the southwest region with the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, and will continue to seek partners in the Northwest, Northcentral, Northeast, Southcentral, and Southeast regions.
The Wolf Administration announced that it will only partner with organizations and entities throughout this process that have an established commitment to non-discriminatory practices. The Department of Health has also created partnerships to connect with bilingual Pennsylvanians.
Residents are required to wear masks when visiting business in both the yellow and green phases of reopening or in any setting outside the home where social distancing is difficult.
As of 12:00 a.m., June 19, there were 80,762 positive cases of COVID-19 statewide in 67 counties and 6,399 confirmed deaths. Most of the patients hospitalized are 65 or older, and most of the deaths have occurred in patients 65 and older.
For more information on the state’s contact tracing plan and process on the Department of Health’s website. For more information on individuals, families, businesses and schools, visit “Responding to COVID-19” on pa.gov.