x
Breaking News
More () »

Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

How can contact tracing help during COVID-19 pandemic?

If done properly, epidemiologists believe contact tracing and testing could allow the country to reopen some businesses and relax social distances rules.

ATLANTA — Terms like "flattening the curve" and "social distancing" have become a part of everyday life during the coronavirus pandemic

There's another concept, called contact tracing, that some experts believe could be the key to helping get life back to normal. 

The concept has a lot to do with ramping up testing and programming. If done properly, epidemiologists believe contact tracing and testing could allow the country to reopen some businesses and relax social distances rules.

Here is how it works.

It starts when a patient tests positive for COVID-19. Contact tracing involves mapping out anyone that a patient may have interacted with, as an effort to determine others who may have been exposed to the virus.

Questions like, "where did you go?" or "what did you do?" and "who were you with while you were symptomatic?" are all a part of the process. 

Anyone identified would be required to self-quarantine for at least 14 days. The goal is to find people who may have been exposed and step in early to try and stop any further spread.

RELATED: Here's how you can get a drive-thru COVID-19 test by CVS on Georgia Tech's campus

Contact tracing isn't new to health departments, but the speed and scale needed to deal with this novel coronavirus is much more significant.

The problem is, however, that many states are experiencing testing shortages. In Georgia, Gov. Brian Kemp said Monday the state is revising some of the criteria for testing. 

RELATED: 'Social distancing' and 'flattening the curve': What does it mean?

The goal is to allow more people to be tested The new guidelines allow the following individuals to be tested:

  • People with symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath):
    • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers
    • Persons residing in long-term care facilities or other group residential settings
    • Persons 65 years of age and older
    • Persons with underlying medical conditions
    • Household members or caregivers of any of the groups above
    • People with symptoms who are not a part of any of the groups above may also be approved for testing, as capacity allows
  • People without symptoms who fall into the following categories (if capacity allows):
    • Healthcare workers, first responders, and other critical infrastructure workers that have been exposed to COVID-19
    • Residents of a long-term care facility or other group residential setting experiencing an outbreak of COVID-19

11Alive is focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the virus. We want to keep you informed about the latest developments while ensuring that we deliver confirmed, factual information.

We will track the most important coronavirus elements relating to Georgia on this page. Refresh often for new information. 

OTHER HEADLINES

These are the coronavirus hot spots in Georgia

President Trump orders halt to US payments to WHO

Arthur Blank, Mercedes-Benz Stadium spending millions helping Atlanta

Atlanta airport TSA agent dies from COVID-19

One of Clayton County's first black teachers at a previously white-only school dies from COVID-19