SC identifies 1,800 contact tracers to help fight COVID-19
South Carolina’s public health agency announced having met a major goal in its fight against the coronavirus: identifying more than 1,800 contact tracers who will help the state curb the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a news release, the state’s Department of Health and Environmental Control reported it had increased its number of contact tracers from 20 to 400 staff members as of Monday. Additionally, the state agency said it has now another 1,400 contact tracers through contracts with two private staffing companies: Apple One and C-Trace.
The agency said, additionally, 667 people have submitted a online form saying they too would be interested in becoming a contact tracer.
The news came on the same day that health officials announced a total of 7,792 positive cases and 346 deaths so far.
South Carolina’s health department has done contact tracing before and typically has on staff 20 contact tracers to help fight diseases viruses such as tuberculosis and hepatitis.
“With increased testing there will be an increase in the number of positive cases reported,” state epidemiologist Linda Bell said in a statement. “This means we will need to increase the extent of its contact tracing, and we are prepared to do so.”
South Carolinians who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive should expect a contact tracer to reach out to them, said Bell, who called it a confidential process.
“That’s how we contain it,” Gov. Henry McMaster said of the ramping up of contact tracing efforts. “We know the virus now. We know how it works.”