State, Non-Profit to Deploy 1,000 Case Workers to Trace Contacts of COVID-19 Patients

Special to the Transcript

Working with a non-profit partner, Gov. Charlie Baker late last week called for 1,000 case workers to deploy throughout the state to track the people who had been in contact with patients who are positive for the COVID-19 virus.

In his daily update on Thursday, Baker announced the creation of the COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative (CTC) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The state will work in collaboration with Partners In Health. It is the first effort of its kind nationwide.

The initiative will focus on tracing the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, and supporting individuals in quarantine, and builds on the efforts already underway from the Command Center to leverage public health college students to augment the contact tracing being done by local boards of health.

The Collaborative will deploy nearly 1,000 contact tracers throughout the state to connect with COVID-19 patients and their contacts to support Massachusetts’ efforts to track and contain the virus.

Led by the administration’s COVID-19 Response Command Center, Partners In Health will coordinate closely with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. Contact tracing will be combined with the state’s efforts to increase testing and will provide support to people in quarantine in order to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 “Enhanced contact tracing capability is another powerful tool for public health officials and health care providers in the battle against COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts is the only state in the nation implementing this type of programming, and this collaborative tracing initiative will break new ground as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Partners In Health will provide staff and contribute technical expertise in community tracing. The Commonwealth Health Insurance Connector Authority (CCA) will stand up a virtual support center and maintain connectivity, while the Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) will maintain data, guides and processes. Accenture, a leading global professional services company, and Salesforce, a global leader in CRM, are implementing support center capabilities for the CTC’s tracing purposes.

“This is a key effort in the Commonwealth’s work to slow the spread of the virus by adding capacity to reach individuals who have come in close contact with individuals are confirmed positive for COVID-19,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders. “I encourage residents to cooperate with the operation so that we can further slow the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.” Contact tracing through the CTC will support the Baker-Polito Administration’s ongoing efforts to expand bed capacity, increase personal protective equipment (PPE) supplies and provide resources for health care providers and patients.

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