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Contact tracing program introduced in Kentucky

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Posted at 6:51 PM, May 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-19 07:55:20-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — During Gov. Andy Beshear's Monday press conference, a seven month contact tracing program was introduced. The program combines public participation and the power of technology to help public officials and healthcare providers contain the spread of this virus in Kentucky.

"Contact tracing, along with testing, is absolutely critical for our reopening and for being healthy at work," Beshear said. "We are relying on more testing combined with better contact tracing by everyone to stop the spread of COVID-19."

In the new program, disease investigators can contact individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and have them retrace their steps to find public settings where the individual may have come in contact with other people. That information is then forwarded to a contact tracer.

Contact tracers can then contact individuals who have not tested positive for COVID-19 but have come in contact with individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19. Contact tracers notify individuals that they may have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and ask the individual if they have been experiencing any symptoms. The contact tracer follows up daily with the individual who may have been exposed to see if the individual has been experiencing symptoms.

Be aware that you may be contacted by a public health worker to gather information. Mark Carter, who will be heading the contact tracing program, asked that people understand the importance of this process, answer these calls and follow provided instructions.

Dr. Steven Stack added that they plan to hire roughly 700 additional workers to help perform the program.

"None of this will work without your partnership," Stack said. "This is absolutely important. Contact tracing is the way we get back as much as possible to what the normal used to be like. Contact tracing is the way we act very quickly to localize infections and keep it from spreading and enable us to interact with each other as much as we can."