The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) has released a new video explaining the state’s COVID-19 contact tracing efforts, asking residents to ‘answer the call’ if DPH reaches out. The YouTube video, How Contact Tracing Works in Georgia can be found at https://youtu.be/8LANQADjaEY
This video is part of a larger campaign rolling out across the state promoting the Healthy Georgia Collaborative, DPH’s expanded contact tracing program to combat the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing is an important public health tool used to monitor the spread of infection and identify outbreaks of COVID-19 before they become widespread community transmission.
Since May, the Healthy Georgia Collaborative has deployed about 1,300 contact tracers and case investigators statewide to interview individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19, and then alert, quarantine and test contacts who may have been exposed. To date, 16,590 cases have been interviewed and 40,082 contacts identified.
“For contact tracing to be successful, education is critical,” said DPH Commissioner Kathleen E. Toomey, M.D., M.P.H. “We need residents to understand what contact tracing is, why it’s important, and how they can participate in helping Georgia stop the spread of COVID-19.”
Beyond explaining the contact tracing process, DPH’s new video also urges residents to “Answer the Call!” When contacts of COVID-19 cases are identified, the first and fastest way that DPH can notify them of their exposure is by calling. “If you don’t pick up the phone,” explains Dr. Toomey, “Then we can’t alert you and get you the support you need. This puts yourself and others at risk of getting sick.”
To encourage participation and reduce scams, when DPH calls, the caller ID will say, “GA COVID Team.” Contact tracers will provide resources and information on testing, symptom monitoring and protection for family members. Any information provided to DPH staff members is kept confidential per HIPAA, which is the law that protects an individual’s personal health information. Georgia’s contact tracing program does not use GPS or Bluetooth technology to track movements of residents.
Contact tracers will never ask for personal information like Social Security numbers, credit card information or citizenship status. If you suspect fraudulent activity or know of someone else who has experienced this, contact the DPH COVID-19 hotline immediately to report: 1-844-442-2681.
For more information about COVID-19 visit https://dph.georgia.gov/novelcoronavirus or https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html.