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State Health Departments transition away from contact tracing

Posted at 8:31 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 21:31:45-05

TULSA, Okla. — State Health Departments are giving people more autonomy whent it comes to their health and COVID-19.

The State and Tulsa Health Departments announced they are transitioning their resources away from Universal Case Investigation and contact tracing for COVID-19.

Up until now, individuals who had been tested for COVID at a facility and tested positive would get a call from a disease investigator. However, that will no longer be the case.

In the early stages of the pandemic, the State and Tulsa Health Departments assigned disease investigators to guide the public through the contact tracing process. They were responsible for calling each positive case in the county to provide guidance and recommendations on next steps.

“We would work through what their most infectious period was and help them to identify those close contacts,” Jessica Rice, epidemiology supervisor with the Tulsa Health Department said.

Now, individuals will no longer receive a phone call from a disease investigator if their results come back positive. Instead, they will be prompted to follow a link that gives them the resources to do their own contact tracing.

“That will allow them to verify who they are and they can go in and access letters for example or return to work letters as well as appropriate isolation quarantine measures and it does allow them to fill out all of their symptomatology information and then identify those contacts,” Rice said.

Rice said this transition will help their department assign disease investigators to high-risk settings such as correctional facilities, homeless shelters, long-term care facilities or even schools.

“It’s just a refocus of our efforts, we have the tools, the public health tools in place…mask wearing, testing, we have our self-service case investigation through the Oklahoma state department of health, and so people will still be receiving those recommendations through the automated process,” Rice said.

Rice said if you still have questions, you can always contact the Tulsa Health Department and they are happy to assist you.

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