How Ohio’s contact tracing system works for COVID-19

Coronavirus

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced a contact tracing system Ohio will be using the coming weeks to deal will the coronavirus as aggressively as possible and limit its spread once Ohio begins to reopen.

He rolled out this system by featuring a fictitious character named “Bill” who is showing symptoms related to COVID-19. To help with this example, DeWine was joined by Dr. Mark Hurst from the Ohio Department of Health.

Dr. Hurst said the first thing Bill should do is contact his healthcare provider and ask that person what he needs to do. The healthcare provider will tell Bill to isolate himself and the healthcare provider will likely approve Bill for a test.

Dr. Hurst said Bill should get the test results within a couple of days. If Bill tests positive for COVID-19, a community health worker will reach out to Bill and make sure he was isolating himself and have a conversation about who he may have been in contact with not only while he was ill, but also the 48 hours before he was ill.

“All of those individual that he may have come into contact with during that time could be at risk for contracting COVID-19,” Dr. Hurst said.

The phone interview with Bill could last 30-45 minutes with the worker jogging Bill’s memory about where he was, who he had contact with, how close those contacts have been and then determine whether any of those individuals need to be contacted and informed that they are at risk for COVID-19.

The community health worker will determine who came into contact with Bill. From there, that person will find out how close that person came into contact with Bill and how long that exposure lasted.

If a person who comes into contact with Bill is at risk, the community health worker will tell that person to quarantine themselves for 14 days and check their temperature twice a day. Those people can send a message to the ODH site updating their condition each day.

If one of those people who came into contact with Bill start showing symptoms, they will need to go through the same process Bill went through and contact their healthcare provider. The process Bill went through repeats itself for that person who came into “close contact” with Bill.

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