Gov. Jay Inslee announced the launch of a statewide contact tracing plan on Tuesday that is said will allow more businesses to open and more people to be active in public while helping to slow and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Inslee said, “Contact tracing is another tool in our toolbox for tackling COVID-19 in Washington,” adding, “While we need to continue physical distancing, this will allow us to get a better handle on who gets sick and how the virus is spread, which is vital to re-opening our economy.”
When someone tests positive for COVID-19, an interviewer will reach out by phone to ask who that person has been in close contact with, then reach out to those other people to let them know they have been exposed. Those people would need to isolate or quarantine themselves.
The information collected is only used by public health professionals and is confidential. It will not be shared. Contacts will not be told the name of the person who may have exposed them to COVID-19.
This plan involves contacting people within 24 hours of a positive test result and talking to their close contacts within 48 hours.
The statewide contact tracing team will be trained and in place by the end of the week and will include members of the Washington State National Guard, though thethe state Department of Health plans to continue training more workers and volunteers to replace them over time.
Local health departments will lead these efforts and the state Department of Health and its partners will support this work.
Read the rest of the story on the governor’s Medium page.