Contact Tracers Key to New York’s Battle with COVID-19
Tina Bourgeois (seated), a senior LPN and communicable disease nurse at the Oswego County Health Department, and Jodi Martin, the supervising public health nurse for preventive services at the Oswego County Health Department. They both work as contact tracers in Oswego County.

Contact Tracers Key to New York’s Battle with COVID-19

Job of contact tracers compared to old-fashioned detective work By Payne Horning Researchers at Columbia University recently released a study indicating how effective measures to enforce social distancing and restrict individual contact have been in the United States’ battle with COVID-19. The analysis suggests that these steps reduced transmission rates and thus the overall death rate. In fact, the model used in the study showed that had the country’s leaders implemented these social distancing measures just one week earlier — on March 8 rather than March 15 — as many as 36,000 deaths could have been avoided, which is more than one-third of total deaths related to the virus in the U.S. to date. Key to the success of the social distancing initiative is a group known as contact tracers. Contact tracing is the practice of tracking down people who have either tested positive for the virus or those who have come into contact with someone who is infected. Like the roots of a plant, the contacts one person has can spread far and wide in the community. It’s the job of contact tracers to find out about each and every one of these interactions and contact those people so

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