One of the most essential tools health services have to reduce the spread of COVID-19 is contact tracing. Currently, the Central Shenandoah health region is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of cases.
But contact tracers and case investigators are seeing a lull in reporting close contacts, said Jordi Shelton, communications specialist for the Shenandoah Central Health District.
Shelton said she thinks people may not really know how important this is, what’s going on, and why it’s critical that you resend any phone messages left by the health department.
If you’ve tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed, a health department investigator will call you and still leave a voicemail message, Shelton said.
The next step is to call that person back.
Once you have done so, the case investigator or contact tracer assigned to your case will ask you to let them know anyone you have been in close contact with and any place you have visited before being tested positive.
“The case investigator or contact tracer will never reveal your identity to your close contacts,” Shelton pointed out.
The only time someone from the health department would let your loved ones know it’s you is if they have your full consent. Unless you provide it, your name will not be shared with anyone.
And they’ll never ask for sensitive information, like your social security number, bank or credit card information, immigration status or anything like that, Shelton added.
After providing this information confidentially, the contact tracer will contact these contacts and nearby places.
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Help you get through your forties
You may be asked to stay home, self-isolate, and quarantine for 14 days after you test positive. The investigator will provide you with advice on how to protect yourself and others.
The Case Investigator will make sure to connect you with any community resources you may need to successfully manage the quarantine. They will make sure you get food and essentials while having to stay home. Shelton thinks many are unaware that the team in the health department is helping people through these difficult two weeks.
Shelton said people weren’t answering their phones or answering calls. Answering these phone calls and doing so in a timely manner is essential.
“If you’ve been exposed to COVID-19, and let’s say you’re asymptomatic, you could spread it without knowing it,” Shelton said. “And promote the spread of COVID-19 at a time when there are already significant cases. “
Maybe you think you are protected because you are vaccinated and think the phone call is just a notification. It’s more than that, Shelton said. And while vaccines are incredibly effective, there is always a chance that you will develop a breakthrough infection and pass it on to others.
“Ultimately, identifying these close contacts, even though you have been vaccinated, and even if the people around you have been vaccinated, can help us stop the spread of COVID-19 and ultimately save lives.” , Shelton said.
Driving clinics for COVID-19 tests
To make testing as easy as possible, the Shenandoah Central Health District offers free COVID-19 drive-thru testing clinics every week. You should get tested three to five days after exposure, even if you have no symptoms.
Augusta County Government Center, Verona
8 am-10am Tuesday, September 28
8-10 a.m. Friday October 1st
Hillandale Park, Harrisonburg
8-10 a.m. Thursday September 30
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