What health officials know about COVID-19 contact tracing


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Health officials are learning what they can about COVID-19 to help mitigate the spread and help those who have been infected or exposed.

An epidemiologist and disease prevention specialist explained the agency uses what’s called “contact tracing” in order to combat the spread of this virus and 70 other diseases every day.

After a person tests positive, the Knox County Health Department works to protect the public by going back through their history to give those who may have come in contact with the infected to educate them and ask that they self-quarantine to stop the spread.

“When we get those reports, we reach out to the person who tested positive, talk to them about the disease they tested positive for, answer any questions they may have about that, then we work with them to figure out who may have been exposed to that during their infectious time,” Sarah Hall, disease prevention specialist with KCHD, said. “The goal is to stop people, to stop transmission, by reaching out to their contacts they may have exposed before they knew, keeping them at home, so they’re not spreading it further “

Experts say patterns show this virus is primarily passed through close contact – which further supports the need for social distancing.

They also say they’re more concerned with long conversations in close proximity than that of quick trips to grocery stores.

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