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Department of Health builds contact tracing resources to support increases of COVID-19 cases

The Pennsylvania Department of Health today provided an update on contact tracing efforts as COVID-19 remains a threat in communities. Contact tracing is the process of identifying, notifying, and monitoring anyone who came in close contact with an individual who tested positive for COVID-19 while they were infectious.

The Department of Health continues to expand and build the infrastructure for long-term public health needs, especially those in the near future to tackle any COVID-19 surges in cases. This expansion includes volunteers, regional partnerships and hiring contact tracing staff.

Currently, Pennsylvanians share on average one to 10 contacts. Estimates show that the state needs about 625 contact tracers. However, this number could grow hundreds, even thousands, depending on the resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall.

Currently, the commonwealth has a total of 661 contact tracers. As of the July report released July 13, there were 649 contact tracers (380 in the Southeast District).

The Department of Health is hiring contact tracing field managers and community health nurses to strengthen contact tracing needs throughout the state. Contact tracing filed managers would allow each coordinator to foster relationships with their regional partners and manage contact tracers within their respective region. Community health nurses will assist with COVID-19 case investigations.

Between June 29 and July 13, contact tracers have enrolled 3,638 contacts in the Sara Alert system.


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