COVID-19 Contact Tracing On The Rise In Forsyth County

COVID-19 Contact Tracing On The Rise In Forsyth County

4:05pm May 21, 2020
On March 3, Governor Roy Cooper announces the first known coronavirus case in North Carolina. Screenshot courtesy of the NC Department of Public Safety.

As Forsyth County begins the gradual reopening process, the numbers of COVID-19 cases have grown. So has the need for contact tracing.

Simply put, contact tracing is a method of locating and identifying disease transmission throughout the community. In the case of coronavirus, the index case — that’s the person who tests positive for COVID-19 — is interviewed by tracers to find their direct contacts. These are people they’ve been closer than six feet away from for more than 10 minutes. Then those individuals are monitored for 14 days to see if symptoms emerge. 

Forsyth County Assistant Health Director Glenda Dancy says the interview process can be time-consuming work.

“It takes us about an hour per interview because you really have to know a lot of information about COVID-19,” says Dancy. “You have to know local resources. You need to tell when someone needs to self-isolate and stay in their house and self-quarantine, teach folks how to disinfect, and you’ve got to teach folks what they need to do to stay safe.” 

Dancy says some of those teachable safety measures include identifying signs of needing emergency care, and how to acquire resources if they're unable to leave home.

There are currently roughly 30 active tracers in Forsyth County with plans to add up to 50 more within the agency. For people interested in doing contact tracing work, there are free training courses are available at the state and county level. Dancy says so far they’ve received roughly 6,000 applications statewide. 

For the most up-to-date information on coronavirus in North Carolina, visit our Live Updates blog here. WFDD wants to hear your stories — connect with us and let us know what you’re experiencing.

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