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5 min read

What is Contact Tracing?

Aug 14, 2020 10:36:13 AM

Contact Tracing

Contact Tracing is a solution for investigating, tracing and preventing the spread of infectious diseases. It involves combining the expertise and capabilities of human Contact Tracers, who are accomplished communicators and skilled in contact tracing techniques and ethical standards, privacy laws and confidentiality regulations, with the latest in advanced contact tracing technology.

By merging the human traits of empathy and compassion with the efficiency of technology, a Contact Tracing solution is considered one of the best ways to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Ideal Profile of a Contact Tracer

Contact Tracing COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) in its Contact tracing in the context of COVID-19
Interim Guidance (10 May 2020) report, recommends an ideal profile for a contact tracer

"Ideally, contact tracers are recruited from their own community and have an appropriate level of literacy, strong communication skills, local language proficiency, and an understanding of context and culture. They should be familiar with and trained on the basics of COVID-19 transmission, prevention and control measures, how to monitor signs and symptoms, as well as the ethics of public health surveillance and quarantine.

A contact tracer workforce can be drawn from many settings, including local government, civil society, and non-governmental organizations, university students, community volunteers, etc."

Contact Tracers are usually trained in the contact tracing process and learn several definitions for carrying out their activities. 

Contact Tracing Process and Definitions of Key Terms

Contact Tracing Six Steps Process
The Johns Hopkins University in their COVID-19 Contact Tracing Coursera course explain that there are 6 steps involved in the investigation of a person infected with coronavirus and tracing their contacts. To discover more about these steps read .The Ultimate Guide to COVID-19 Contact Tracing.

The Contact Tracer will use the following key terms during an investigation:

  • Case - A “case” is a person who has contracted COVID-19 and is still contagious.
  • Contact - is someone who has been in contact with a case, and therefore has potentially contracted the disease.
  • Isolation - Isolation means a case (a person infected with COVID-19) should eliminate contact with other people for the duration of the infectious period, which is 2 days before the onset of symptoms, and at least 10 days afterwards. The exception to this is if the case needs to see a doctor. If the case lives with others, they might try and find a different place to stay. Or they may isolate in their own bedroom and bathroom. It means wearing a mask if there is any reason to be around other people.
  • Quarantine - Quarantine separates and restricts the movement of people who were exposed to a contagious disease for 14 days, to see if they become sick.
    The slide below shows the 14 day period a person should stay in quarantine after being in contact with a case.
  • Incubation period - The incubation period is the time from when someone is infected until symptoms develop. The COVID-19 incubation period ranges from 2 to 14 days, however, 50% of people (who are symptomatic) will have symptoms by 5 days after they are infected.
  • Asymptomatic - Some people who are infected have no symptoms and are therefore asymptomatic

It is important that no time is wasted during the contact tracing process. In fact, efficient use of time is critical to ensuring contact tracers can make contact with, and trace, contacts of infected persons before they come in contact with other people, thereby spreading the virus. Contact Tracing technology can help eliminate inefficiency in the process and therefore reduce the spread of the virus.


Contact Tracing Technology

Dovetail Check Track Trace-1

The aforementioned WHO report states that:

"Electronic tools and information technology are not essential for contact tracing but can make it more efficient and facilitate implementation on a large scale."

The benefits of using technology for contact tracing is backed up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the Digital Contact Tracing Tools section of their website, where they write: 

"Case management tools for case investigation and contact tracing capture data on cases and contacts and can help improve the efficiency of manual contact tracing and medical monitoring methodologies."

In response to the demand for technology that can aid contact tracers in reducing the spread of COVID-19, Dovetail have developed a new Contact Tracing solution, based on case management technology and including an optional Health Screening app, that we've named Dovetail Check Track Trace. Dovetail Check Track Trace is part of our range of Emergency Management Response Tools and is being adopted by enterprise level companies to protect their workforce (and their employees' families), and local communities by limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Check out the video below to find out more.

 

Conclusion

Effective contact tracing is a holistic solution that merges the abilities and skills of human contact tracers with the efficiency of advanced contact tracing software, which includes case management and health screening capabilities.

In order to help companies protect their employees and reduce the spread of the virus among the workforce, and the wider communities, Dovetail has developed a Contact Tracing solution (based on Case Management technology) with optional Health Screening application. The solution is called Dovetail Check Track Trace and is already being adopted by companies looking to protect their employees, their families and wider communities.

Discover Dovetail Check Track Trace

If you found this blog post of interest and would like to deepen your knowledge about contact tracing, then click here to read our Ultimate Guide to Contact Tracing.

Kelly Frisby
Written by Kelly Frisby

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