April 22, 2020 by Carol Britton Meyer
The state has launched a COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative with Partners In Health in addition to continuing to recommend social distancing.
"This program focuses on using volunteers to 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," Town Administrator Tom Mayo told the Selectmen last night. "This program has been welcomed by [the Hingham] Health Department."
The COVID Community Team will be reaching out via phone to both confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and their close contacts to help shut down virus exposure points before they happen.
"When a member of the team calls, you can do your part by answering the phone and providing information that will help flatten and reduce the curve in Massachusetts," according to the CTC website.
If someone tests positive, the goal of the team is to ensure they are getting the medical attention they need and support through quarantine. The next step is contact tracing, which supporters say has been used effectively to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Taiwan and South Korea and in the United States for past epidemics.
The COVID Community Team will be reaching out via phone and text to confirmed positive COVID-19 patients daily between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. According to the website, names of those reached remain private. Phone calls will use the prefix 833 and 857, and the phone screen will indicate the call is from the “MA COVID Team.”
During the calls, a case investigator will ask for a list of all the people confirmed COVID-19 patients were within six feet of during the two days before they experienced 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," the website states.
Those with confirmed cases will be asked to let their contacts know about their illness. Otherwise their contacts will be notified by the COVID Community Team that they have been exposed so they can get tested, but no names are shared.
For those staying at home during the isolation period, the case investigator will also discuss any needs they may have and may connect them with a care resource coordinator who will help them get the support they need. Throughout their illness, a case investigator or their local board of health will check in regularly to monitor their symptoms and needs.
For further information visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/learn-about-the-community-tracing-collaborative