Indiana State Department of Health to centralize contact tracing efforts

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TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) – Starting next month, Indiana health officials say contact tracing will increase in the state.

Its a method that helps determine who has been exposed to COVID-19 and what steps should be taken to limit the spread.

Beginning May 11th, the Indiana State department of Health will centralize contact tracing efforts for all Indiana counties.

“We’re going away from those things that we do to a broader population like those big policies that the governor has put in place, to now those policies that are directed at individuals that are contacts of or positive cases associated with COVID-19,” said Dr. Kristina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner.

According to the Indiana State Health Commissioner, Indiana is contracting with the company Maximus to open a call center.

The call center will be staffed with more than 500 workers trained by state medical professionals to conduct contact tracing.

“Health officers have actually put together a three hour to four hour video training for contact tracing,” Box said.

The center will be responsible for contacting those who have tested positive for COVID-19 and launching an investigation as to who else may been exposed to the virus.

Health officials say the new method for contact tracing is key in re-opening Indiana’s economy.

“An important requirement for us being able to open back up in our state is that we must be able to test individuals quickly and isolate them if they’re positive, and then contact individuals who have been in close contact with them and let them know that they must quarantine themselves for 14 days,” Box said.

It will also allow local health departments to use their resources in others areas of concern.

“This centralized technology-based system will free our local health departments up to focus on connecting individuals in isolation to local resources they may need,” Box said.

Doctor box says once the program begins those who are positive or may have been exposed to COVID-19 will be contacted by text, phone call, or e-mail.

Box also says on average, each case has an additional 10 contacts.

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