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

0

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – The Department of Health (DOH) today shared a weekly update on the investigation of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing data in Pennsylvania, encouraging Pennsylvanians to download the COVID Alert PA app , as over 877,000 have already done, to help with contact tracing efforts.

“While the COVID-19 vaccine is our last tool in the toolkit to protect us from the virus, we must remember to answer the call of public health professionals, to wear a mask, to practice social distancing and continue to wash our hands frequently. Said Acting Health Secretary Alison Beam.

Here’s how the contact tracing process works:

A person with a positive COVID-19 result is contacted by a case investigator – a public health professional – to gather information and offer advice. For the week ending April 17, public health professionals completed 8,764 case investigations. This equates to 26% of the positive cases reported for the week.

Contact tracers take reports from investigators on cases and contact the contacts identified in the reports. A total of 200 contact tracers contacted individuals to conduct digital case investigations through the Connect & Protect form. During this reporting week, there were 10,463 successful calls reaching 59%, or 6,148 people. Of the 5,234 forms sent, 38% or 1,973 were returned.

Since the implementation of the Connect & Protect form from December 21, 2020 to April 17, the ministry has received 25,512 completed forms.

With the close contacts collected during the case investigation, 1,538 contact tracers worked to conduct the contact tracing. Between April 11 and 17, there were:

  • 8,603 contacts processed for areas under the jurisdiction of PA DOH;
  • 5,663 people, or 66% of the total contacts identified and actually contacted to communicate their quarantine status and provide continuous monitoring of symptoms;
  • 2,149 people, or about 25 percent of total contacts, unreached; and
  • 791 still being contacted.

How can you help:

  • Answer the call, then complete the Connect & Protect form. 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, the ministry has made updates to allow residents ages 13 to 17 with parental consent to download the app, which is now available in four news 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.

Although the supply of vaccines from the federal government remains limited, the Department of Health strives to ensure that the vaccine is provided in an ethical, fair and efficient manner.

  • All Pennsylvanians aged 16 and over are eligible to schedule a COVID-19 vaccine. You can indicate the vaccine providers on the map here.
  • 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.
  • Map of vaccine providers to find a COVID-19 vaccine provider near you.
  • All the locations that received the vaccine and how much they received can be found on the COVID-19 vaccine distribution webpage.
  • Vaccine Dashboard data can also be viewed on the website for more information on doses administered and to present demographic information.
  • Pennsylvanians can provide feedback on the Pennsylvania COVID-19 Interim Vaccination Plan by clicking the Plan Feedback Form box under Popular Vaccine Topics here.
  • Frequently asked questions can be found here.

CONTACT WITH THE MEDIA: Barry Ciccocioppo – [email protected]

# # #

Share.

Comments are closed.