“Atlanta, Ga. (CW69 News at 10pm)”

PRESS RELEASE:

Atlanta – The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is increasing its workforce to expand
contact tracing for COVID-19 in Georgia. Contact tracing is used to identify and mitigate
hotspots of infection to help prevent further spread of the virus.
Currently, about 250 contact tracers are deployed throughout the state. To date, more than
3,800 individuals testing positive for COVID-19 have been contacted and nearly 13,000 contacts
identified.
In partnership with the CDC Foundation, a deployment coordinator and a training and learning
coordinator have joined DPH’s COVID-19 response team. Together these individuals will
oversee the training and deployment of hundreds of contact tracers being hired by the
Department. They will work closely with the 18 public health districts to ensure operational
issues and staffing needs are addressed, and that performance metrics established by DPH and
district leadership are met.
DPH’s goal is to have over 1,000 contact tracers within weeks to strengthen its contact tracing
efforts. Training is underway for 200 new contact tracers and 70 medical students and M.P.H.
candidates who joined DPH in the past two weeks.
Along with the additional contact tracers, DPH is introducing a new online monitoring tool
developed by Google/MTX to make contact tracing more efficient. Once a COVID-19 case is
identified, public health staff work with that individual to help them recall everyone they have
had close contact with and where they went while they may have been infectious. Contacts
identified during this interview will be called by trained DPH staff indicating that they have been
exposed to COVID-19 and asking them to enroll in DPH symptom monitoring and informing
them that they must self-quarantine for 14 days after the exposure.
The web-based portal allows identified contacts to easily answer questions about their health
and their symptoms related to COVID-19. If the contact reports symptoms, the system will
prompt the individual to call 911 if they are in a medical emergency or to consult with their
healthcare provider if they are sick and need medical care. Individuals with mild symptoms who
do not need medical care will then be provided information on how to schedule COVID-19
testing.
Contacts will receive a daily text message for 14 days reminding them to report if they have
symptoms through the monitoring tool, and they will also receive information about what to do if
they are or become sick. Individuals who do not report daily will be contacted by DPH. For
people who do not wish to use the online system or receive texts, they can call DPH directly to
report their symptoms.
Confidentiality is critical to the success of contact tracing. Contact tracing in Georgia is 100%
confidential – the identity of the person who tests positive and the information on those who might
have been exposed will not be shared. Georgia’s contact tracing does not use GPS or Bluetooth
technology to track movements. The monitoring tool does not collect any data other than what is
entered by the contact.
For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.
For updates on the COVID-19 situation as it develops, follow @GaDPH, @GeorgiaEMA, and
@GovKemp on Twitter, and @GaDPH, @GEMA.OHS, and @GovKemp on Facebook.

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