Massachusetts has teamed up with Partners In Health to create the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative. The goal of the program is to involve the community in helping trace the COVID-19 virus through contacts of confirmed positive patients.
The community tracing works as follows. If an individual tests positive they will first be supplied with resources and support in order to fight the virus. Then, with the individual’s assistance, the COVID Community Team will reach out to anyone via phone or text that the individual has been in contact with in which the virus could have spread. It should be noted that like private medical records all information is strictly confidential and names will not be released.
The info obtained from this tracing is vital in order to flatten the curve and slow down the spread of the virus. South Korea has gained a lot of attention for their thorough tracing efforts. Using a cell phone application with GPS data, South Korean citizens are able to be informed on who in their immediate vicinity has been exposed to the virus. This system allows people to easily avoid carriers and allows the government to know precisely how the virus is spreading in order to take proactive measures. While both countries reported their first cases within a day of each other back in January, this past Thursday South Korea announced that it had been the first time in months without a new diagnosed case whereas the U.S had an increase of over 20,000. Tracing might be one of the most powerful weapons available against this pandemic.
While Massachusetts COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative is nowhere near as exhaustive as South Korea’s, it is certainly a step in the right direction.