Contact tracing has ended its operations in Massachusetts

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP/Mass.gov) – Massachusetts is ending its program that tracks people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID. The reason: a lack of state-funded workers to help track new infections.

The Boston Globe reports that the state is advising local health departments to only do contact tracing for COVID cases in group settings. Health officials are redirecting resources to testing and vaccination awareness as the number of cases and hospitalizations rise.

From April 2020 to December 2021, the Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) supported local health departments in their contact tracing work on behalf of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The CTC’s goal was to help local health departments and reach people who tested positive for COVID and their close contacts, ensuring they received the support they needed to self-isolate, quarantine or get tested.

Four main organizations worked closely together to manage this initiative:

  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH): Public health authority and epidemiological guidance for CTC
  • Massachusetts Health Connector (Connector): CTC General Contractor
  • Partners in Health (HPI): CTC Workforce Partner
  • Accenture: CTC technology partner

The CTC helped meet the initial public health need for case investigation and contact tracing, responding to an average of 63% of total new confirmed cases statewide. The CTC:

  • Cases received and contacts delegated to the CTC of 220 cities/municipalities
  • Caring for over 500,000 cases and over 250,000 contacts throughout their isolation and quarantine
  • Made over 2.6 million outbound calls and sent thousands of text messages to help connect with cases/contacts
  • Provided care resource coordination support to connect nearly 119,000 at-risk residents with community supports, resources and public benefits during their isolation and quarantine
  • Support DPH and local public health with rapid outbreak response and multi-jurisdictional cluster investigations
  • Provision of tailored support and collaboration to local health authorities through dedicated local CTC health liaisons
  • Support for a statewide preparedness and rapid response strategy for all colleges and boarding schools and their host communities, beginning in summer 2020 in preparation for the 2020 school year -2021
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