COVID-19 Testing

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact tracing has been a hot topic, particularly the huge role it can play in slowing down the virus.

It may seem new, but it's not.

"All it's really about is trying to protect from the spread of the disease," said Mark Carter, the former Passport Health CEO, leading the contact tracing effort in Kentucky. "It's a decades-old process that local health departments have used on things like Tuberculosis and HIV."

Kentucky is among dozens of other states getting millions in federal CARES Act money to fund contact tracing.

During a virtual forum Monday, Carter said there are three important people working with your local health department during the process. A disease investigator (usually an RN, Carter said) is responsible for calling victims of the virus, confirming their lab results and asking about potential contacts.

A contact tracer calls people who have been exposed to COVID-19 and assesses their health on a daily basis. Then, a social support connector connects patients with ways they can get what they need.

"Such as the need for groceries, or medicine, or those kinds of things," Carter said. "The idea here is to help people."

It may be the one time you should pick up when an unknown local number pops up on your phone.

"Reports are that we're having pretty good success in contacting people," Carter said.

At this point, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the White House think contact tracing is one of the best tools out there to fight an unforgiving virus that won't go away.

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