EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The City of El Paso said that it is ramping up its efforts to investigate positive COVID-19 cases and to find out if others have been exposed.
Contact tracers are working to contact each person who may have been in close proximity to a positive case for an extended timeframe, officials said.
“At a glance, contact tracing is a simple process. If someone tests positive for COVID-19 the Public Health Department will reach out to the individual to begin capturing the health status and contact history,” said Health Program Manager Sara Cera. “We ask individuals a series of questions to help us identify others who might be at risk and also to help us determine the next steps. The department will continue working to monitor individuals twice a day for 14 days to track the person’s health and also determine how the virus progresses.”
Contact tracing revolves around clarifying the connections between infected individuals in order to identify the source, isolate and test those at risk, and slow down the transmission of disease.
In the case of illnesses for which there is no vaccine, such as COVID-19, contact tracing represents the ultimate weapon in the public health pandemic arsenal, officials said.
“Our contact tracers are highly trained in pursuing the origin of infection down to the very last detail,” Cera said. “We’re very proud of our team and the hard work and dedication they display each and every day in the fight against this pandemic.”
Officials said that the COVID-19 epidemiology team has been significantly augmented with health department staff, nurses, educators, food inspectors, members of the El Paso Fire Department, and students from the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso’s Foster School of Medicine.
The team is working staggered shifts 7 days a week to meet the community’s needs, officials said.
In addition to cooperating with these “disease detectives” when they call, residents are also asked to keep track of any signs and symptoms so that if you are ever contacted as a potential exposure, you can provide quality data to those investigating.
For more information about COVID-19, visit www.epstrong.org.