Asian Reporter web extra, August 12, 2020
contact tracing, and how does it work with COVID-19?
By The Associated Press
What is contact tracing, and how does it work with COVID-19?
The goal of contact tracing is to alert people who may have been exposed
to someone with the coronavirus, and prevent them from spreading it to
others. Health experts say contact tracing is key to containing the virus
and allowing places to re-open more safely.
But the process isnít easy.
After a person tests positive for the virus, a contact tracer would get
in touch with the person and attempt to determine where they have been and
who they were around.
The focus is on close contacts, or people who were within 6 feet of the
infected person for at least 10 minutes or so. Those people would then be
asked to self-isolate, monitor themselves for symptoms, and get tested if
For those showing symptoms, the tracing process would start all over
Contact tracing is done in a variety of ways around the world. But a
common issue is that determining who a person has been around can get harder
as gatherings with friends and family are held, and as bars, restaurants,
and other places re-open.
Health officials could also become overwhelmed with cases. In the U.S.
for example, local health departments may rely on automated texts to alert
people who may have been exposed to an infected person. Health officials
prefer to call people if possible because it can help build trust. But some
people never return calls or texts.
Thereís also pressure to act quickly. Ideally, most of a personís
contacts would be alerted within a day.
The Associated Press is answering questions about the
coronavirus in this series.
Submit questions to <FactCheck@AP.org>.
Illustration by Peter Hamlin.