COVID contact tracing numbers are dropping, where is the best search?


PHOENIX – New data from Arizona’s largest county shows that over the past six months, the number of people aware of COVID-19 exposure has declined.

Among the COVID-19 cases reported from June to November, there are an average of about 12,700 close contacts, according to data from the Maricopa County Public Health Department. Of these, about 1/3 of the contacts can be informed of their exposure.

A spokesperson for MCPHD told ABC15: “If a contact is reported without any contact information or if the close contact does not answer the phone, MCDPH is not able to notify them. “

Contact tracing is a tool used to help slow the spread of COVID-19 by identifying positive cases and linking close exposures to those who have come in contact with a positive person.

Arizona Department of Health Services, Case Investigator Assigned to Positive Case: “Case investigator calls the COVID-19 positive person (the ‘case’) to gather information about their illness , explore where she may have contracted the disease, and chat about anyone they spent time with (their “contacts”). “

Data shared with ABC15 shows the percentage of notified contacts that could be reached.

Over the summer, health authorities were able to notify 45% of close contacts, but in November that number fell to less than 22.9%.

Month (2021) Identified contacts Notified contacts Registered contacts
m % of identified m % of identified % of notified
June 1554 621 40.0% 294 18.9% 47.3%
July 1661 748 45.0% 409 24.6% 54.7%
August 23413 7253 31.0% 3928 16.8% 54.2%
September 19529 5342 27.4% 3069 15.7% 57.5%
October 13162 3602 27.4% 2029 15.4% 56.3%
November 17073 3903 22.9% 2172 12.7% 55.6%

A few notes on the MCPHD data:

  • All counts are based on the month the contact was first imported into our contact tracing system (i.e. a person imported on June 30 and contacted on July 1 will be counted in the June issues).
  • Identified contacts: number of close contacts reported to MCDPH by cases of COVID-19 (regardless of whether the correct contact information or contact information is provided)
  • Notified Contacts: Number of nearby contacts who can be reached at their correct phone number and notifying them of their exposure. A person who refuses to talk to them further or sign up for Sara Alert for symptom monitoring is still considered “notified.” Incorrect phone numbers and voicemail messages (even for the right person) are not considered a notification, they are lost to follow-up.
  • Contacts Enrolled: The number of close contacts who choose to enroll for post-exposure symptom monitoring in the Sara Alert system.

Will Humble, of the Arizona Public Health Association, told ABC15 that while contact tracing for the community at large may not be the best use of time, he says for institutions it remains. useful, “it is a good use of time in schools, assisted living centers, qualified nursing establishments, places offering services to people with intellectual disabilities, contact tracing is always invaluable.


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