Department of Health offers monthly update on COVID-19 investigations, contact tracing and surveillance efforts

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Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – The Department of Health (DOH) today shared a monthly update on the investigation of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing data in Pennsylvania, encouraging everyone to download the COVID Alert app PA, as more than 922,000 have already done, to facilitate contact tracing efforts.

“Even as more and more Pennsylvanians are getting vaccinated every day, case investigation and contact tracing remains essential in our COVID-19 response,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said. “Although the COVID-19 vaccine is the latest tool available to protect people from the virus, we must remember to respond to the case investigation and contact tracing calls from public health professionals. “

Here’s how the contact tracing process works:

A person with a positive COVID-19 test result is contacted by a case investigator – a public health professional – to gather information and offer advice. Between June 10 and July 9, public health professionals completed 6,336 case investigations. This equates to 34 percent of the positive cases reported.

Contact tracers take reports from case investigators and contact the contacts identified therein. Contact tracers reached out to individuals to conduct digital case investigations through the Connect & Protect form. During the reporting period 2,296 calls were made and 578 people were successfully contacted. Of the 419 forms sent, 114 were returned.

“Calling residents who have been diagnosed with COVID-19 to investigate cases continues to be a critical part of our response,” Acting Secretary Beam said. “It is important to answer and participate in this call to help stop the spread of this virus. “

Between June 10 and July 9, there were:

· 701 contacts processed for areas where the PA DOH is competent;

· 254 people actually contacted to communicate their quarantine status and offer continuous symptom monitoring;

· 342 people not affected; and

· 105 is still being contacted.

How can you help:

· Answer the call. A call from a case investigator will come from a caller named “PA Dept of Health,” so don’t be afraid to answer the call. The caller is a healthcare professional who will provide you with valuable information and help you prevent someone else from also contracting COVID-19.

· Download the COVID-19 app. Since the Department of Health launched COVID Alert PA on September 22, 2020, the department has made updates to allow residents ages 13 to 17 with parental consent to download the app, which is now available in four languages. This app is interoperable with 22 other states that also use the same notification exposure app technology.

· You can find more information about the state’s contact tracing efforts on the Department of Health’s website here.

The Department of Health strives to ensure that the vaccine is provided in an ethical, fair and effective manner to all Pennsylvanians:

· All Pennsylvanians aged 12 and older are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. Use Vaccine Finder to find a COVID-19 vaccine supplier near you.

· A Commonwealth COVID-19 vaccination guide explains the current process to get one. Pennsylvanians with questions about the immunization process can call the Department of Health hotline at 1-877-724-3258.

· Vaccine Dashboard data can also be viewed on the website for more information on doses administered and to present demographic information.

· Unite Against COVID’s Weekly Update is a summary of the news you can use and answers to your most pressing vaccine questions – delivered right to your inbox every week.

· Frequently asked questions can be found here.

CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Mark O’Neill – ra-dhpressoffice@pa.gov

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