Test And Trace In The News
Archived news about #TestAndTrace
September 11-17, 2020
Santa Clara County to fine providers $5,000 per violation if they don’t provide coronavirus tests (San Francisco Chronicle) – County health officials say healthcare providers are not carrying their weight on COVID-19 testing.
What are the different types of tests? (AP News) – Two coronavirus tests diagnose whether a patient has an active infection, and a third indicates if a patient previously had the virus.
OU football: Lincoln Riley says contact tracing holds ‘excruciating’ for Sooners (The Oklahoman) – Oklahoma’s head coach Lincoln Riley says a “high majority” of players held out as a result of contact tracing contact tracing never tested positive for COVID-19.
CU to enforce 14-day quarantine for students who live in Boulder (NBC 9 News) – Following an alarming number of outbreaks, free testing will be provided regardless of symptoms during the all-campus quarantine at the University of Colorado; students will not be allowed to gather for social purposes of any kind.
Lack of Cooperation Increases in Contact Tracing (Cape May County Herald) – State health department officials note that 18% of those called by the tracers will not accept the call, while those that do refuse to cooperate 59% of the time.
‘A lot of twists and turns’: Why contact tracing is difficult — and what is being learned (Indy Star) – After receiving help from a state-run call center, “local health and university officials say that they have opted to do their own contact tracing because they can be both more successful and more thorough.”
West Coast wildfires heighten coronavirus risk (Axios) – Wildfire smoke closed testing sites from Los Angeles to Northern Washington, and doctors say smoke-irritated throats are more welcoming to the virus.
September 3-10, 2020
‘Play it down’: Trump admits to concealing the true threat of coronavirus in new Woodward book (CNN) – “In early February Trump told (author Bob) Woodward he knew how deadly the virus was, and in March, admitted he kept that knowledge hidden from the public.”
Contact tracing foiled by conspiracy theories, lack of federal messaging (POLITICO) – An investigation found fringe political operatives who mocked contact tracing and called it “communist” on cable news.
DSU clarifies contact tracing standards (Dixie Sun News) – Dixie State University is citing HIPAA as its reason for not notifying professors that a student has COVID-19 if they were six or more feet away within the classroom.
The School Bus as a Contact Tracing Tool for COVID-19 (School Transportation News) – Modeled after airline procedures, this high- and low-tech system used by bus drivers has “students check in and off the bus, creating detailed manifests that show which student rode the bus for 37 minutes and which for seven minutes.”
People prefer coronavirus contact tracing to be carried out by a combination of apps and humans, study shows (EurekAlert! for AAAS) – A total of 41% of those questioned wanted a mixture of an app and human contact during the tracing process, compared to 22% who wanted it purely to be run via contact with another person and 37% who wanted the process to only be digital.
Why Contact-Tracing Apps Haven’t Slowed Covid-19 in the US (Wired)– Contact tracing relies on plentiful, cheap, and rapid testing, and most of the country lacks that capacity.
Doctor: Lower COVID-19 numbers in Arizona mean contact tracing useful again (KOLD News 13) – Maricopa County ramped up staffing numbers as the state’s numbers were going up and traced more than 2,200 cases in the past week.
August 31 – September 2, 2020
California bill requiring coronavirus disclosures at work headed to governor’s desk (San Francisco Chronicle) – The bill would require that employers give written notice and instructions to employees who may have been exposed at work. The bill also has anti-retaliation protections for reporting infections.
iOS 13.7: Apple’s New Covid-19 Contact Tracing System Explained (Forbes) – The new operating system update has contact tracing more deeply integrated. It is hoped that building functionality in to Apple’s and Android’s operating systems will save some steps for public health departments. The phone system tracks contacts; users also have to get tested and enter the result in a companion app.
Delays in St. Louis County contact tracing a frustration for families (KMOV-TV) – St. Louis County residents may get a call from a contact tracer five days after exposure, instead of the county health department’s goal of notification within 24 hours. The department has 150 full- and part-time tracers and would like to have 225.
Private firm could see $21 million for coronavirus contact tracing in Washington state (KUOW radio) – The data and policy firm Mathematica will begin training investigators next week to assist local health departments and replace National Guard members.
R.I. sets up contact tracing system for schools (NewportRI.com) – The program will start with 50 staffers and help schools rapidly “identify the positive cases, put our systems into action, do our contact tracing, quarantine all the close contacts to prevent outbreaks, and to allow for a smooth operation of school.”
Cape Coral Charter Schools use independent contact tracing as 2 COVID-19 cases appear (Wink News) – A charter system is hiring its own contact tracers to track their buildings.
August 27-30, 2020
Your Coronavirus Test Is Positive. Maybe It Shouldn’t Be. (New York Times) – Experts are coming around to the idea that high-sensitivity PCR tests are producing positive results for people who are not contagious, fueling support for expanding rapid screening.
Model shows potential contact tracing impact against COVID-19 (Stanford Medicine) – Researchers “found that detection of cases in the community and successful outreach to contacts both need to exceed 50% for contact tracing to reduce transmissions significantly.”
Texas struggles with Covid tests as contact tracers bombarded (The Guardian) – Confusion is hamstringing the state’s ability to track and address coronavirus cases.
Test Sensitivity for Infection versus Infectiousness of SARS-CoV-2 (NBER) – “This paper examines the value of different tests from an information-theoretic approach and shows that applying treatment-based approval standards for tests for infection will lower the value of those tests and likely causes decisions based on them to have too many false positives (i.e., individuals isolated who are not infectious).”
Rapid $1 Covid-19 tests exist. Why can’t we get them? (Vox) – Explainer on the differences between antigen tests and PCR tests.
What it would take for more at-home Covid-19 tests (CNBC) – Former FDA chief Scott Gottlieb says product authorizations likely to “come in waves.”
August 24-26, 2020
CDC was pressured ‘from the top down’ to change coronavirus testing guidance (CNN) – Contrary to previous statements from the agency, the new guidance suggests asymptomatic people don’t need to be tested, even if they’ve been in close contact with an infected person. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he was in surgery when the new guidelines were discussed.
New CDC Testing Guidelines Have It Backward (Bloomberg Opinion) – Experts say the new guidance is confusing; in fact, the U.S. needs more guidance, not less.
U.S. government to purchase nearly all rapid tests manufactured by Abbott this year (Bloomberg) – The government will acquire 150 million of the newly approved tests, which produce results in 15 minutes.
Wastewater helps find positive COVID-19 cases at UA dorm (KOLD) – The University of Arizona is testing sewage from all dorms to identify positive cases, even if students aren’t showing symptoms of the virus.
Not All Americans Can Get a COVID-19 Test If They Want One (FiveThirtyEight) – “In many cities in America, your access to COVID-19 testing depends on the color of your skin.”
August 20-23, 2020
Biden makes his Covid-era case for presidency (Politico) – Expanded access to rapid testing is among the planks of the Democratic presidential candidate’s plan to fight the coronavirus.
Better coronavirus testing can fight more than the pandemic (Axios) – In the future, rapid testing could help catch common infections that often go undiagnosed.
Plan for contact tracing international airline passengers stalls (Reuters) – CDC has tried to institute collection of tracing information from passengers arriving in the U.S. from foreign countries.
How key bottlenecks scrambled coronavirus testing in Sacramento (Los Angeles Times) – The upcoming flu season could add additional strain on the availability of swabs, since flu tests use the same type, one lab director said.
In pandemic recovery, New York has had more success than Mass. What explains the gap? (Boston Globe) – Experts cite many reasons, including New York’s “vigilant enforcement of business safety guidelines” as well as extensive testing and region-based reopening.
August 17-19, 2020
Trump administration limits FDA review of some coronavirus tests (Politico) – Decision means tests developed by individual labs don’t need a review by the FDA.
Close Contact Tracing Team Fights on Front Lines of COVID-19 Care (U.S. Department of Defense) – Profile of the Naval Medical Center contact tracing team at Camp Lejeune.
Contact tracing apps have been a bust. States bet college kids can change that. (Politico) – College-aged people may be more willing to use apps since they are digital natives, and large-scale campus use could show how to encourage broader adoption of apps to aid tracing efforts.
Digital contact tracing alone may not be miracle answer for COVID-19 (Science Daily) – Manual contact tracing has been more effective in reducing the numbers of cases; although digital tracing probably provides more accurate records of contacts, it must be paired with tactics like isolation to reliably reduce cases.
Maryland county executives, Baltimore mayor ask state for more contact tracing data (Baltimore Sun) – Local health departments want more of the state’s data about their jurisdictions and want the tracers to ask about more symptoms in order to improve advice to contacts.
Coronavirus contact tracing app planned (Altoona Mirror) – The state is partnering with NearForm to launch a Bluetooth app developed by Apple and Google that tracks contacts with other app users and notifies them if someone tests positive for Covid-19.
University Forms COVID-19 Contact Tracing Team (University of Mississippi News) – Ole Miss is creating an internal team to follow up if someone on campus gets a positive test result, recruiting volunteers from all the departments on campus to bring a range of skills to the team.
August 14-16, 2020
FDA clears saliva test for COVID-19, opening door to wider testing (STAT) – Yale University’s inexpensive SalivaDirect test is less invasive than nasal swabs and can alleviate the shortages of chemical reagents plaguing the current testing program.
Rethinking Our COVID-19 Testing Strategy (Science Friday) – Podcast episode focused on rapid testing featuring insights from Eric Topol, the founder and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute.
Drop in Testing Hampers Coronavirus Response (New York Times) – The U.S. saw a downward trend in the number of coronavirus tests conducted each day for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
California’s coronavirus contact tracing efforts hampered by lack of bilingual staff (San Jose Mercury News) – Bilingual tracers are needed in California, including ones who can speak Spanish, Vietnamese and other languages.
Florida costs for contact tracing services skyrocket (FOX 18) – In less than three months, Florida’s $6 million contract with a Virginia-based government contractor has ballooned to $50 million and could reach up to $75 million.
August 11-13, 2020
Coronavirus Testing Still Not Making the Grade (Wall Street Journal) – “Widespread use of antigen tests, which detect proteins associated with the virus in less than an hour without the need for laboratory work, would be a big help. With that in mind, seven states, with aid from the Rockefeller Foundation, last week formed a compact to jointly purchase millions of these rapid-result tests.”
Can We Still Trust the CDC? (In the Bubble with Andy Slavitt) – In podcast interview, ex-CDC director Tom Freiden says states are not reporting an important indicator regarding the spread of COVID-19: people identified as contacts who self-quarantine. “That person is a dead-end for the virus,” he notes.
Why you can trust the new coronavirus contact-tracing apps to safeguard your privacy (Fortune) – Explores the privacy measures built into emerging digital contact tracing technologies.
Contact Tracers In Massachusetts Order Milk And Help With Rent. Here’s Why (National Public Radio) – Experts say the need to assist with with food and rent for people in isolation needs more attention.
State officials warn Pennsylvanians to be wary of contact tracing scams (Reading Eagle) – Article detailing likely questions from real tracers and scam artists.
Kansas officials say new COVID-19 law hurts contact tracing (AP) – The state’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a law requiring employers and event planners to get permission before giving contact information to public health agencies.
Why Is It Hard to Get a Rapid COVID-19 Test? The Machines Are in Short Supply (Wall Street Journal) – Nursing homes, doctors’ offices and government agencies are jockeying for antigen tests with quick turnaround times.
August 3-10, 2020
Bill Gates on Covid: Most US Tests Are ‘Completely Garbage’ (Wired) – Gates said he’s asked leaders at the federal level to change the reimbursement terms with test providers to reduce or cancel pay for results later than 48 hours.
Restaurant employees no longer need coronavirus tests to return to work (Tampa Bay Times) – The state changed their rules in accordance with new CDC guidelines.
COVID contact tracing apps bring privacy pitfalls around the world (CNet) – The creators of COVID-19 App Tracker, who presented their findings at the annual DefCon hacker conference, scanned 136 apps from countries around the world.
This Contact Tracer Is Fighting Two Contagions: The Virus and Fear (New York Times) – “People are reluctant because they are scared,” said tracer Ms. Kumar, a 55-year-old mother of two. “I’ve even had one person ask, ‘Are you F.B.I.
Thousands of Houston contact tracing cases tossed over testing delays (ABC Houston) – COVID-19 test samples sent to national labs are experiencing the longest delays, according to the city.
Five lawmakers sue Gov. Greg Abbott over $295 million contact tracing deal (Texas Tribune) – The lawmakers argue that the contract, which is for several years, was awarded to an improperly vetted company and that the governor overstepped executive power.
Virginia Unveils App To Aid Contact Tracing (NPR) – COVIDWISE is an exposure notification app that uses tokens exchanged via Bluetooth to protect individual privacy.
July 31-August 2, 2020
How Jared Kushner’s Secret Testing Plan “Went Poof Into Thin Air” (Vanity Fair) – This spring, a team working under the president’s son-in-law produced a plan for an aggressive, coordinated national COVID-19 response that could have brought the pandemic under control. So why did the White House spike it in favor of a shambolic 50-state response?
Stanford Health Care can begin pooled testing for COVID-19 (Stanford Medicine News Center) – Stanford announced FDA approval to “pool” or batch together several patients’ swab specimens before processing them for results. The technique, which has been used to survey for syphilis and HIV, is “best used for routine, repeat testing” of congregate groups.
Louisiana contact tracing stymied as 73 percent of people who answer don’t share contacts (Nola.com) – Tracers are now reaching 69% of people compared with just 48% in early June, though many still won’t share names of contacts.
Nantucket health board to consider earlier restaurant closings in wake of rise in coronavirus cases (Boston Globe) – The sudden increase in the island’s infection rate from 26 to 39 cases has island’s health board mulling bar closures as early as 11pm, which they say is “not quite a curfew.”
California scales back coronavirus testing task force despite long lines, new outbreaks (Los Angeles Times) – “The diminished state of the task force alarms some experts and former members who say a fully staffed team is needed more than ever to help a public health department that is chronically understaffed and ill-equipped to respond to emergencies on their own.”
Test often, fast turnaround – with Michael Mina (This Week in Virology) – Epidemiologist Michael Mina says frequent, rapid testing is more beneficial than accurate tests.
An update on Exposure Notifications (Google) – Google is using feedback from public health experts to improve the Exposure Notifications System.
Coronavirus threat rises across U.S.: ‘We just have to assume the monster is everywhere’ (Washington Post) – The fast growth in COVID-19 cases across the country is posing problems for testing and contact tracing.
July 27-30, 2020
California’s coronavirus contact tracing faces setbacks (NBC News)– Factors such as testing delays, distrust and embarrassment are combining to make efforts to contain COVID-19 more difficult in the state that now has the highest number of cases in the nation.
Contact tracing links COVID-19 outbreak at Princeton nursing home to Myrtle Beach travel, state confirms (Bluefield Daily Telegraph) – Twenty-three staff members and 19 residents at a nursing home in West Virginia tested positive and two residents have since died.
Nevada to expand contact tracing under new reopening plan (Elko Daily) – State has contracted with Deloitte to assist and plans to hire additional staff, roll out a mobile app and target high-risk businesses.
Contact tracing in the NFL: How a German company with U.S. headquarters in Chicago is tracking players’ daily interactions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in team facilities (Chicago Tribune) – Team personnel will be given a device to wear on a wristband or lanyard that logs contacts and alerts the wearer to proximity to other people.
Legislative Council approves $7 million for contact tracing, testing in Marshallese & ‘Latinx’ communities (KARK-TV) – Money will be dedicated specifically to testing, contact tracing, and quarantine support in these two minory communities in northwest Arkansas.
City Praises Contact-Tracing Program. Workers Call Rollout a ‘Disaster.’ (New York Times) – “The contact tracers said the program was confusing and disorganized in its first six weeks, leaving them fearful that their work would not have an impact on the virus.”
Nursing Students Tackle COVID-19 Contact Tracing (Chico State Today) – Students gain necessary clinical experience and fill the need for trained contact tracers, using interactions to quell anxiety and help protect the local community.
July 23-26, 2020
These Elite Contact Tracers Show the World How to Beat Covid-19 (Bloomberg) – After one South Korean warehouse employee tested positive, “thousands of the employee’s co-workers, their family members and contacts were approached and 9,000 people were eventually tested.”
Virus Surge Brings Calls for Trump to Invoke Defense Production Act (New York Times) – Experts say the move is needed to grow the inventory of medical supplies, including coronavirus tests.
Anne Arundel County to impose new COVID-19 restrictions (WTOP) – After this Maryland county’s contact tracing showed growing cases in people in their teens to mid-30s going to bars, restaurants, parties, malls and shopping centers, the restrictions were ordered.
State’s contact tracing is inadequate, experts say (Albuquerque Journal) – Data released by New Mexico last week show the large increase in COVID-19 cases over the past month tripled the median time for the state to contact and recommend isolation for a person who has tested positive.
Atlanta company debuts COVID-19 contact tracing technology for schools (CBS 46) – The company behind the CrisisAlert system already used by district schools introduced its new ContactAlert system for infectious diseases.
‘It’s Like Groundhog Day’: Coronavirus Testing Labs Again Lack Key Supplies (New York Times) – Backlog is the result of missing parts of tests, such as pipettes and chemicals.
Want A COVID Test? It’s Much Easier To Get In Wealthier, Whiter Neighborhoods (FiveThirtyEight) – The coronavirus is hitting Black and Hispanic communities hardest.
As COVID cases exploded, workers on Texas’ $295 million contact tracing deal did little to no work (Houston Chronicle) – Investigation finds contact racers received erroneous instructions, among other problems.
As Long Waits for Results Render COVID Tests ‘Useless,’ States Seek Workarounds (Kaiser Health News) – States are trying to adapt with private labs’ capacity for processing jammed up.
As coronavirus ravaged nursing homes, inspectors were not being tested (Los Angeles Times) – Inspectors are fearful that they could spread the virus between facilities.
Test positive for COVID? CDC changes quarantine rules (AL.com) – People who test positive are advised to quarantine for at least 10 days after the onset of symptoms.
July 20-22, 2020
Over half of U.S. companies plan virus contact tracing for employees: survey (Reuters) – In the absence of federal efforts and given premature reopening of meany states, some large companies are training employees or hiring tracers to track employee contacts.
Ireland’s contact-tracing app has done so well that US states want to use it (Business Insider) – Ireland’s app, called COVID Tracker, has been downloaded by 37% of that country’s adult population. Developers donated the code to an open-source project and are talking to Pennsylvania health officials about adapting the program, which uses Bluetooth signals for tracking.
CSU shares plans for COVID-19 testing, contact tracing as thousands prepare for return to campus (Coloradoan) – Colorado State will use pooled testing and has hired a team of contact tracers to manage in-person classes on the campus this fall. Additional buildings will be used to hold classes to allow sufficient space between people.
State health officials continue to build contact tracing program (The Daily Item) – The network of contact tracers across Pennsylvania enter contacts into a database called the Sara Alert system: “The Sara Alert … [enables] contact tracers to send daily emails, texts and/or phone calls to cases and identified close contacts throughout their isolation/quarantine monitoring period.”
State expands contact tracing grants, governor urges mask-wearing (WCIA) – Community-based organizations will now be able to apply for grants to fund general education about prevention, contact tracing, and coordinating resources for people who need to quarantine.
Rockefeller Foundation’s Covid-19 National Testing & Tracing Action Plan (Rockefeller Foundation) – The plan addresses testing shortages, data infrastructure, and public communications, calling for an increase in “the use, speed, public trust, and support services for contact tracing.”
The FDA signs off on pooled testing, which significantly expands diagnostic capacity (New York Times) – As the U.S. struggles to contain surging caseloads and an increasing death toll from the virus, the FDA issued its first emergency approval for a testing approach that allows samples from multiple people to be combined for much faster tracking of new infections.
Some Oregonians Wait 2 Weeks For Coronavirus Test Results, Hindering Efforts To Slow Virus (The Oregonian) – Delays are rendering contact tracing much less effective.
Only those with COVID symptoms or exposure should be tested, experts say (Daily Memphian) – Increased demand in Memphis area spurs backlog and delays in processing coronavirus results.
July 16-19, 2020
Trump administration pushing to block new money for testing, tracing, and CDC in upcoming coronavirus relief package (Washington Post) – Trump’s position is reportedly creating a rift with Senate Republicans, who are proposing $25 billion for testing and contact tracing.
Newsom reopened California without meeting his own coronavirus testing, tracing benchmarks (Los Angeles Times) – In documentation submitted to the state attesting to their readiness for reopening, 17 counties wrote that they did not meet requirements for available, trained contact tracing staff and more than two dozen hadn’t hit targets for daily testing thresholds when they applied.
Inside one Pa. county’s effort to stay ‘hot on the trail’ of every COVID-19 case (WHYY-FM) – Because test results are taking days, “Montgomery County has changed the guidance it gives people getting tested, urging them to preemptively quarantine even before they receive results.”
Delays in COVID-19 testing results become ‘dangerous’ for some (ABC Houston) – Dr. David Persse says he cannot protect the public if there are delays getting test results. “In 30 days one person will be responsible for the infection of 406 others.” He warned it’s imperative to quarantine for 14 days, even if your own test comes back negative, after coming into contact with a covid-positive person.
Ky. couple on house arrest after not signing positive COVID-19 self-isolation order (NBC Wave13) – A couple of days after she denied signing the Self-isolation and Controlled Movement Agreed Order, Linscott said the Hardin County Sheriff’s Department arrived at her home without warning.
CVS Covid-19 Testing Test Results Are Taking Longer Than Customers Have Been Told (Wall Street Journal) – Customers are complaining of wait times of 10 days or more.
Alaska does more COVID-19 tests with fewer positives than most other states. That doesn’t tell the whole story. (Anchorage Daily News) – “Comparing Alaska to other states is complicated by the state’s unique strategy to screen travelers and seafood workers that adds a large pool of healthy people less likely to test positive for the virus.”
Trump admin allows group COVID-19 testing (Politico) – FDA grants emergency approval of approach that combines multiple samples for faster testing.
Why didn’t Trump help my state with coronavirus testing? (Washington Post) – “Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death,” says Maryland Governor Larry Hogan in an op-ed.
Delays in receiving COVID test results could inhibit contact tracing (Washington State Wire) – Washington Governor Jay Inslee is calling on the federal government to produce more testing materials.
Why isn’t contact tracing protecting California from COVID-19 outbreaks? (The Mercury News) – Initial staffing estimates failed to account for surge in new cases.
July 13-15, 2020
As coronavirus cases rise, Colorado officials say contact-tracing efforts are keeping up, so far (Colorado Sun) – Contract tracing in the modern age: using group texts, email chains, and social media to try and connect with all the people someone has had contact with.
Cuomo shares New York’s army of contact tracers with other states (Politico) – The governor is in talks with Atlanta and Houston to loan them personnel.
Contact tracing helps reduce Evanston COVID cases (Evanston [Illinois] Now) – City has reduced tracers’ workload from 20 cases per day to approximately two or three.
Conspiracy theories aside, here’s what contact tracers really do (Arizona Republic) – Contact tracing “has to be done quickly, and it takes a lot of people. Recent case count surges in some parts of the country are making the task more difficult.”
State teams with UAA to expand contact tracing workforce during pandemic (Anchorage Daily News) – The state health department has used Cares Act funding and staff from the state university’s Center for Rural Health to quickly find and train the needed people to trace contacts.
Cuomo Orders Fines for Travelers Who Fail to Fill Out Contact Tracing Forms (East Hampton Star) – An emergency health order mandates travelers from states with heavy COVID-19 cases fill out forms with their contact information before leaving their destination airports.
False conspiracies swirl as Wisconsin contact tracers battle coronavirus (Sun Prairie Star) – City council members and staff respond.
Distrust, Underfunding Hinders COVID-19 Contact Tracing (MedPage Today) – Although contact tracing has been successful in some areas, efforts in other states have been crippled by a lack of testing, funding, national guidance, and growing distrust in public health.
How to Get Contact Tracing Right (Washington Monthly) – The states that are succeeding are relying on people, not programming.
4,000 calls a day? How is SC’s contact tracing handling surge in COVID-19 cases (The State) – As coronavirus cases continue to soar, South Carolina has pledged a robust system to trace the movements of those who come down with COVID-19 symptoms.
July 9-12, 2020
Maricopa County Public Health Director: COVID-19 Contact Tracing ‘Doesn’t Make Any Sense’ Now (KJZZ 91.5) – Letting the perfect be the enemy of the good? This Arizona county health director stands firm against contact tracing when infections are this numerous.
‘Huge hole’ in COVID-19 testing data makes it harder to study racial disparities (Science Magazine) – Evidence indicates “the pandemic is unfolding very differently in Black and brown communities.”
Tensions Around Contact Tracing During the AIDS Era Are Resurfacing With COVID-19 (KQED) – Disease detectives who traced cases of sexually transmitted diseases and HIV in prior decades are relying on lessons learned in the past.
Miami-Dade waits on Florida for contact tracing (Miami Herald) – County officials and the state department of health are still haggling over the details of bringing on workers for contact tracing.
COVID-19 test results could take a week or more as labs struggle to meet soaring demand (NBC News) – With labs overwhelmed, patients and doctors are struggling to evaluate behavior modifications.
Coronavirus In Colorado: New Challenges Make Contact Tracing More Essential (CBS Denver) – In some cases, the health department informs a patient of their positive result before the test administrator.
The push for more bilingual contact tracers continues as Latinos make up about half of Richmond’s COVID-19 cases (Richmond Times-Dispatch) – As of Monday, the health districts have hired 53 people, 14 of whom speak Spanish, after hiring just two bilingual speakers in the earlier May hiring wave. The goal is to have 40, with some who are fluent in Indigenous languages, and a staff of 80 within a month, said Joanna Cirillo.
Volunteers try to fill contact tracing gaps, but Boone County lacks resources (NBC Missouri) – “Adding volunteers from the general community will require screening, training and additional technology needs,” the county health director said in an email to KOMU 8. “Right now, we just don’t have the staff resources to stand up a volunteer workforce of contact tracers.”
Boulder credits contact tracing for stopping spike in COVID-19 cases linked to parties (NBC 9News) – With the spike after the parties and large gatherings, the number jumped from five to nearly 30 new cases per day. Now the county is down to around 10 new cases per day.
Apple and Google’s COVID-19 contact tracing system gains more participants (Fortune) – Multiple states and 11 countries are working with the companies to develop contact tracing apps.
July 6-8, 2020
Contact tracing is no longer possible across the US South due to rapid coronavirus surges, health expert says (CNN) – “The cases are rising so rapidly that we cannot even do contact tracing anymore,” says Dr. Peter Hotez of the Baylor College of Medicine.
Contact tracing challenges led to Anchorage’s listing of bars with COVID-19 exposure (Anchorage Daily News) – As the city’s contact tracing ability maxes out some infected individuals declined to say who they had close contact with, Anchorage started naming establishments where there was Covid-19 exposure.
Who’s watching you? Contact tracing protected by privacy laws despite public resistance (The Indiana Lawyer) – Data privacy lawyers say “contact tracing is both a legal and a helpful tool to combat the public health crisis.”
Contact tracing is key for smart transit and smarter cities (Smart Cities Dive) – “Mobility is the lifeblood of the economy, and getting people moving again is essential. Leveraging digital platforms and infrastructure to sense people’s locations makes this possible.”
Contact tracing helps to identify cases in the region; Cape County surpasses 300 total (Southeast Missourian) – Public health officials lead with businesses where known contact has occurred to reach all the people who may have been exposed.
How Experts Are Containing COVID-19 Through Contact Tracing (9 and 10 News) – Interviews with officials and experts in Michigan on efforts to contain the virus.
More than 862,000 download Covid tracker app in first day (RTE) – The app was launched by Ireland’s health department to track close contacts and symptoms.
RivCo health officials talk hospitalization numbers, contact tracing (Valley News [California]) – Public health official says “the goal of contact tracing is to disrupt disease transmission….”
$2,000 A Day Fine For Obstructing Coronavirus Contact Tracing (Forbes) – Officials in New York’s Rockland County recently issued subpoenas to eight party-goers who refused to cooperate with tracking efforts.
In South Florida, volunteer contact tracers take on language barrier in urgent COVID fight (ABC News) – Coronavirus disproportionately affects Latinos, while Spanish outreach lags.
As COVID-19 cases rise, health departments grapple with contact tracing burdens (Joplin Globe) – City and county health departments in Missouri are working to expand contact tracing, but some say they’re still getting no direction or direct funding from the state.
Coronavirus: Disease detectives track an invisible culprit (BBC US & Canada) – A spotlight on contact tracers and efforts in Savannah, Georgia, and Hartford, Connecticut.
Majority in El Paso who test positive for COVID-19 aren’t truthful when questioned for contact trace (CBS Local) – Of patients who have tested positive, an El Paso Health Authority doctor says less than 10 percent are admitting to where they’ve been.
July 2-5, 2020
Coronavirus: Subpoenas get results in Clarkstown cluster probe (Westchester Journal News) – A New York county which saw a measles outbreak last year issued subpoenas to eight contacts exposed to a coronavirus cluster.
Wyoming nurses devote long hours to COVID-19 contact tracing (AP) – Nurses are following up with exposed contacts to ensure they’re isolating.
Anchorage releases locations of COVID exposures as contact tracing system is overwhelmed (NBC Anchorage) – List is composed primarily of local bars and restaurants, which authorities had kept private in previous weeks.
Arizona’s Pima County to accelerate contact tracing in coming weeks (KOLD) – Health department plans to generate a phone number that will be used for all county contact tracing efforts.
What should Bay Area restaurant owners do when employees test positive for coronavirus? (San Francisco Chronicle) – Counties only advise COVID-positive employees not be allowed to work until they test negative, but restaurant owners wish for clearer guidelines.
As Missouri COVID cases rise, health departments grapple with contact tracing burdens (Boonville Daily News) – Awaiting funding from the state, local health clinics are working seven days a week investigating cases.
Wilton monitors contact tracing during coronavirus pandemic (The Wilton Bulletin) – County is asking residents to help close that gap by contacting the Wilton health department when they receive a positive test result.
June 29-July 1, 2020
Local contact tracing team aims to reduce spread of COVID-19, educate public on risks (Wyoming Tribune Eagle) – Collaboration between the state and county health departments means “97% of lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases in Wyoming have included follow-up contact tracing.”
Why Coronavirus Exposure Notifications And Contact Tracing Are Very Different Things (ISSCNC) – Contact tracing tells us where the exposure occurred, not just that it occurred.
State scales back contact tracing program (Salem News) – New COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts have dropped to the point that state can reduce contact tracing staff.
Contact tracing remains inadequate in most states (American Enterprise Institute) – Contact tracing coupled with quarantine lowers the transmission rate, but most states have inadequate tracing staffs and no plans to ramp up.
State to sign with company to improve contact tracing, health officer says (WTVY [Dothan, AL]) – Alabama state health officer says the state doesn’t have enough tracers as case numbers begin to increase and is working with a company to provide more staff quickly.
Health experts say contact tracing, transparency crucial for restaurants amid pandemic (WSYXTV Sinclair Group Columbus, OH) – Targeting specific restaurants for closure is seen as preferable to widespread shutdowns.
Massachusetts Test-And-Trace Regime Best In Nation: Report (Patch.com) – “The state has a dozen contact tracers for each positive coronavirus test, according to an analysis by #TestAndTrace.”
WHO: Countries complaining about contact tracing are ‘lame’ (ABC News) – The U.N. health agency has repeatedly advised countries that shutting down their COVID-19 outbreaks requires having a strong contact tracing program in place.
Louisiana sees slight uptick in contact tracing compliance (WBRZ) – New text message capability lets people know the department is going to be reaching out to them, which has helped in getting responses.
As coronavirus cases surged, Texas’ contact tracing workforce shrunk (Texas Tribune) – Title says it all.
Chelan and Douglas counties [WA State] contact tracing now handled by the Department of Health (Wenatchee World) – Lacking the capacity to complete investigations for positive tests, all cases except those at long-term care facilities have been turned over to the Department of Health.
Contact tracers overwhelmed by increasing COVID-19 cases in Tennessee (WKRN) – Contract tracers in the state can no longer quickly identify and notify small clusters of people exposed to the coronavirus.
‘We Don’t Provide Judgement’: Contact Tracers Work To Slow Spread Of Coronavirus In LA County (CBS Los Angeles) – Dr. Sonali Kulkarni, medical director of L.A. County’s division of HIV and STD programs, says contact tracers have to be good listeners and not pass judgement.
June 25-28, 2020
Bay Area contact tracing shows early signs of success (SF Chronicle) – The Bay Area’s efforts to track COVID-19 cases are showing early signs of success, but making direct contact with positive cases still poses daunting challenges.
Contact tracing, challenged by coronavirus, faces new test in Nevada and its casinos (Nevada Independent) – When delivering test results over the phone, tracers find responses run the gamut. “Are you sure?” ask asymptomatic cases, some are defensive, others nonplussed “yeah, of course I have it”, while many “think the worst and erupt in tears.”
COVID-19 contact tracing in Chattanooga area becomes harder as people distance less (Chattanooga Times Free Press) – While Tennessee continues to ease restrictions and people become more mobile, many residents reject calls from public health officials to wear masks. This is making the work of contact tracers for COVID-19 increasingly difficult.
Airline executives and Pence agree to move forward with contact tracing (CNN)– “Airlines had initially balked at the government’s demand that they collect detailed contact information on all passengers and distribute it to public health officials if requested.”
An Update on the NYC COVID Contact Tracing Program (WNYC) – The executive director of Test & Trace Corps discusses the necessity of New York’s contact tracing program on an episode of The Brian Lehrer Show.
‘Pool testing’ could help US crank up to millions of tests per day (STAT) – Some experts are promoting the practice of combining samples from multiple people to test in groups as a way to raise testing volume.
Delaware launches COVID-19 contract tracing system (Delaware State News) – State is hiring 200 dedicated contact tracers.
Trump Follows Through on Threat to ‘Slow the Testing Down’ (Yahoo!) – Administration pulling funding from drive-through coronavirus testing sites in five states.
The cost of a COVID-19 test is all over the map (KXAN) – Investigation looks into wide ranges of prices for tests.
Alabama health officer worried COVID-19 is too widespread for contact tracing to work (Alabama Political Reporter) – State is hitting record highs in positive coronavirus cases.
June 22-24, 2020
How to Quickly Scale Up Contact Tracing Across the U.S. (TED Talks) – Video interview with Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners in Health, discussing how her team is applying experience working around the world to working with public health agencies in the United States to ramp up contact tracing for vulnerable communities.
How Hawaii Became a Rare Covid Success Story (Politico) – In February with few available tests, six state health workers began contact tracing, staffing up, and enforcing a 14-day quarantine for arrivals as well as case contacts. Working through weekends, they were able to track down “all contacts for the state’s 762 cases to date, largely cutting off the virus as it sought new hosts.”
COVID contact tracers are needed, and Johns Hopkins offers a free course to learn how (WJLA-TV) – The five-hour online course has been popular and is being a credential for hiring.
In Delhi’s revised COVID combat plan, all houses to be screened by July 6; surveillance, contact tracing on focus (Jagran English) – The city has been divided into containment zones, which will be sealed to break the chain of transmission; cases are found to cluster.
Parts of Pa. reopened without robust coronavirus contact tracing to keep residents safe (Philadelphia Intelligencer) – Contact tracing is needed as businesses reopen to keep outbreaks from (re)occurring and making more shut-downs necessary. However, Pennsylvania has no statewide system in place.
Texas needs to at least triple its number of contact tracers, according to one research model: Without a vaccine, contact tracing is the best way to fight COVID-19 (WFAA-TV) – As case numbers surge, the old estimates of how many tracers the state would need are no longer enough.
What Contact Tracing Tells Us About Cluster Spread of the Coronavirus and Protests (NPR) – Contact tracing also helps us learn how the virus is spread. It turns out anti-police protests haven’t resulted in clusters, “a testament to how effective masks are in preventing the spread of this disease.”
CDC director: US has about 28,000 contact tracers, needs 100,000 (The Hill) – At a House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Robert Redfield said increasing the number of contact tracers is “going to be critical for what we’re doing.”
For contact tracing to work, public health authorities must regain the trust of Black communities (Vox) – “A long history of surveillance and racist medical experiments does not make Black Americans want to give up personal information to the government,” Katelyn Esmonde writes.
More Than 4,000 Close Contacts Of Coronavirus Exposure Identified Through Contact Tracing In Pennsylvania (CBS Local Affiliate) – According to the State Department of Health, there are 500 trained contact tracers, including 130 state health nurses; another 800 individuals have volunteered to be contact tracers.
Contact Tracing Programs Are Crucial to Beating Coronavirus – but Some Cities are Struggling (People) – Low response rate and privacy concerns are barriers to effective large-scale contact tracing in places like New York City.
As COVID-19 cases surge, Austin Public Health says contact tracing isn’t doing much (KXAN) – Travis County Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott says effective contact tracing in other countries “happened when the places generally were shut down, when people weren’t moving around. That’s not what we’re doing here.”
June 18-21, 2020
Coronavirus app failure leaves tracing plan in disarray (The Times) – UK app may never be released to the public.
As States Reopen, Do They Have The Workforce They Need To Stop Coronavirus Outbreaks? (NPR) – Survey shows that even though contact tracers have tripled nationally in the last six weeks, most states still fall short of recommended staffing numbers.
Warning: COVID-19 Contact Tracing Apps Could Be Turned Into Tools For Domestic Abuse (Forbes) – Support groups are calling for strong privacy protections to protect abuse victims.
Prime Minister announces new mobile app to help notify Canadians of COVID-19 exposure – PM Justin Trudeau launches Canada’s first contact tracing app.
N.Y.C. Hired 3,000 Workers for Contact Tracing. It’s Off to a Slow Start. (New York Times) – New York City’s contact tracing workers are having a hard time getting enough information from positive patients to actually trace and isolate contacts.
As Alaska cases of COVID-19 go up, so does demand for contact tracing (Anchorage Daily News) – Alaska’s recent surge in cases is prompting the state to recruit more contact tracers.
NCDHHS chooses businesses to support contact tracing, testing (WCTI ABC 12) – North Carolina has selected 26 businesses as qualified vendors to supply tools for its contact tracing program.
Gov. Ducey calls on National Guard to help contact trace a month after stay-at-home order expired (ABC 15) – Arizona’s Governor has asked for 300 National Guard members to work on contact tracing as the state’s cases surge.
June 14-17, 2020
Analysis: U.S. Isn’t ready for the contact tracing it needs to stem the coronavirus (Washington Post) – U.S. “capacity to contact and warn the web of people they potentially exposed to the virus is sorely lacking.”
Penn State to resume classes this fall: Social distancing, masks, testing and tracing included in plans (The [Lockhaven, PA] Express) – Penn State is hiring its own contact tracers to support its reopening plan for the fall.
Contact tracing key to moving forward ([Waterloo, IL] Republic-Times) – Southern Illinois has had great cooperation from the community to trace contacts. An additional problem with surges in case numbers is that it makes it harder to keep up with tracing.
Back to Work: The Use of Contact Tracing Technology to Improve Worker Safety (JDSupra.com) – Contact tracing apps may not be clear about what data they collect, what it’s used for, where it’s stored, or how conclusions are drawn. What are best practices and what are the privacy issues?
AGs Urge Apple, Google to Ensure Privacy of COVID-19 Contact Tracing (Health IT Security) – The National Association of Attorneys General survey about confidence in tracing apps’ consumer privacy protections.
England’s ‘World Beating’ System to Track the Virus Is Anything But (New York Times) – The newly hired contact tracers in the UK are hampered by insufficient training and poor coordination between public health officials and private testing firms.
Europe Rolls Out Contact Tracing Apps, With Hope and Trepidation (New York Times) – “Italy and Germany activated apps this week as tools to avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections, fueling a debate about privacy rights.”
In Rural Texas, COVID-19 Contact Tracing is Largely Up to Local Officials, If It Happens at All (Texas Observer) – “As public health experts warn of new waves of infections this summer or fall, experts say there’s still not a robust system in place to track the coronavirus, particularly in rural areas.”
Ohio State students help with COVID-19 contact tracing (Ohio State News) – “This is a hard job in that you have to be prepared to repeatedly talk to people who are very stressed and very scared,” epidemiology professor Bill Miller said.
Despite army of workers, coronavirus contact tracing in Washington state is challenging (Seattle Times) – County investigators — which trained and started tracing while the state’s team was still forming — found more than 40% of phone numbers missing, and people who test positive aren’t always responsive when tracers call.
Arizona’s new coronavirus spike is worrisome (Vox) – While its cases doubled in two weeks, the state was deploying tests to popup drive-thru labs, which is different than seeking out people who have been exposed and testing then isolating them.
Airline passengers brought COVID-19 into LAX in March – and no one warned the public (LA Times) – The LA Times identified “two long-haul flights into LAX in March … in which public health officials failed to alert passengers and crew who had flown with a person who later tested COVID-positive.”
As California Trains 20,000 Contact Tracers, Librarians and Tax Assessors Step Up (NPR) – California has asked librarians, tax assessors, city attorneys, and even sheriff deputies to contact trace.
Germany says coronavirus tracing app ready to go (Reuters) – The app uses bluetooth short-range radio to detect and contact people at risk of infection by coronavirus and does not rely on a centralised database.
June 10-13, 2020
Coronavirus contact tracing apps were tech’s chance to step up. They haven’t.(NBC News) – States aren’t embracing digital contact tracing apps, even though developers think they still have a chance.
Fake contact-tracing apps delivering banking trojans (Computer Weekly) – Spoof coronavirus apps are emerging around the world.
Can Coronavirus Contact Tracing Survive Reopening? (The New Yorker) – Profile of contact tracing program in Massachusetts.
In South Korea, you can see every store COVID-19 positive people have been(Fast Company) – South Korea’s location data program was more successful at containing the coronavirus than a lockdown, and it did less economic damage.
How Reliable Are COVID-19 Tests? (Intelligencer) – Concerns over inconclusive test results are growing as testing ramps up across the country.
Contact tracing could be a regular part of office life. Here’s how it will work(CNN) – Explainer on methods for contact tracing that could become part of the typical workday.
Over 80% Of Finance And Tech Companies Say “No” To Coronavirus Contact Tracing (Forbes) – Survey suggests workers may not embrace contact tracing in the office.
When you can’t quarantine at home: COVID-19 contact tracers aim to help(NPR) – Profile of a contact tracing interaction, explanation of the process and rationale, helping people who test positive find a place to quarantine (do they live in a household with people who are negative, do they have a pet who needs care, are they homeless). Focus on a tracer and the numbers in Utah.
UK wouldn’t have coped with coronavirus crisis without help of tech giants, health minister says (CNBC) – Britain’s NHS has sought advice, technical support, and data management software from companies such as Google, Microsoft, and Palantir, which raises concerns about privacy and privatization.
In close contact: UC San Diego groups working on contact tracing in COVID-19 battle (La Jolla Light) – Researchers at UC San Diego are working on better tests to establish active infection or antibodies (past infection and recover) but also an app for contact tracing called TraceCorona.
New coronavirus scam: How to spot bogus contact tracing texts, emails and calls (The Morning Call) – Real contact tracers won’t tell you which of your contacts tested positive, and they won’t ask for financial info or other identity-theft fodder.
How a scrappy team of school nurses hunted the coronavirus in Revere (Boston Globe) – When the city’s schools closed because of the coronavirus, the district’s school nurses became the area’s first contact tracers.
Can location data capture how well the Covid-19 response is working? A joint effort aims to find out (STAT) – Using large-scale movements of population to develop a software tool for tracing.
June 7-9, 2020
How to quickly scale up contact tracing across the US (TED) – “Joia Mukherjee, chief medical officer of Partners in Health, discusses how her team is working with public health agencies to ramp up contact tracing for the country’s most vulnerable communities — and shows why it will take a compassionate approach to be truly effective.”
Contact Tracing: The Need For Accurate Data Has Never Been Greater (Forbes) – Is existing bluetooth technology capable of producing data that is accurate enough for contact-tracing COVID-19?
Poland rolls out privacy-secure coronavirus tracking app (Reuters) – “Poland has released its latest version of a smartphone application to help to track coronavirus outbreaks, which has been adapted to address concerns about privacy.”
Contact Tracing Is a Time-Tested Method for Fighting Outbreaks but It’s Facing New Challenges (WKSU / NPR) – A review of Contact Tracing methods in Ohio.
Officials Hope Residents Respond to Contact Tracing Calls (Governing) –Health officials hope if residents hear the ring and see “MD COVID” on the caller ID they will answer.
Bucks County traces 12 new coronavirus cases to Jersey Shore gatherings, illustrating importance of contact tracing during reopening (Philadelphia Inquirer) – “We have been one of the few counties that have done contact tracing from the get go,” county spokesperson Larry King said.
Amazon warehouse workers file lawsuit claiming ‘sloppy contact tracing’ (CNBC) – “We’re not asking them to violate HIPAA laws, but to perform accurate contact tracing,” attorney Frank Kearl said. “Telling people not to tell others they tested positive is not recommended by the CDC.”
No, coronavirus apps don’t need 60% adoption to be effective (MIT Technology Review) – Digital contact tracing may work at much lower levels of usage than most people think, thanks to a misunderstanding of the research.
Profile of Apple-Google contact tracing API reveals how project started (Apple Insider) A profile of the Swiss scientists who initiated the Apple-Google contact tracing API project.
No Trace and Test Tools in Place as Coronavirus Hospitalizations Rise: Ex-FDA Chief (NBC New York) – The U.S. lacks the infrastructure necessary to deal with a second wave of COVID-19, according to former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
COVID testing: More isn’t necessarily better, ‘it’s all about how smart they are testing’ (USA Today) – Experts looking for system “that gets the right test to the right person at the right time.”
June 4-6, 2020
No Trace and Test Tools in Place as Coronavirus Hospitalizations Rise: Ex-FDA Chief (NBC New York) – The U.S. lacks the infrastructure necessary to deal with a second wave of COVID-19, according to former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb.
NYC Scrambling to Hire Contact Tracers Needed to Reopen Safely (City Journal) – Bureaucratic delays have played a part in slowing the hiring process.
COVID testing: More isn’t necessarily better, ‘it’s all about how smart they are testing’ (USA Today) – Experts looking for system “that gets the right test to the right person at the right time.”
Diversity Among Disease Detectives Key to Containing Coronavirus (KQED) – San Francisco wants contact tracers who speak multiple languages.
At-Home COVID-19 Testing Arrives, With Accuracy and Access Questions (The Wall Street Journal) – Affordability a major concern after regulators approve at-home coronavirus tests.
Pooled Covid-19 Testing May Help Us Get Back To Work and School (Forbes) – Practice involves combining multiple swabs from people into one test.
Immunostics Inc. COVID-19 Testing Solution for Universities and Colleges (OA Online) – Company and Univ of Utah professor develop a rapid antibody test and protocol for use at colleges.
Covid-19 news: NHS Test and Trace not tracing enough to be effective (New Scientist) – The system in place is only contacting 38% of known contacts of people who have been diagnosed with coronavirus. A government advisory group says the need to reach 80% to be effective.
Using contact tracing and GPS to fight spread of COVID-19 (GPS World) – Automated tracing would be much faster than manual tracing, important to stop a highly contagious disease. The article has a good paragraph about what contact tracing is in public health generally, and addresses privacy and ethical concerns.
As New York City Begins To Reopen Next Week, All Eyes Will Be On Efficiency Of Hired Contact Tracers (WLNY TV) – A hospital is in charge of the tracing instead of the Department of Health, and there’s been some disarray getting so many new employees on board and trained.
Colorado sets goal of at least 10,000 COVID-19 tests a day by flu season (Denver Post) – The state is currently doing 7,000 to 8,000 tests per day. The increase is needed to accommodate the influx of people with suspicious symptoms when flu season coincides, and to reach a threshold of percentage of positives, which indicates that they aren’t missing cases. Currently contact tracing is highly variable, depending on county and whether a particular case is linked to an outbreak.
May 31-June 3, 2020
Wuhan’s mass testing may have eradicated the coronavirus (Bangkok Post) – Wuhan authorities said they found no new cases of “silent spreaders” for the first time in nearly two months as the city’s aggressive push to test its entire population appears to have succeeded in breaking hidden chains of transmission.
Test And Trace Could Replace Quarantine For Travellers, Top Scientist Suggests (Huffington Post UK) – Vacationers could submit themselves to coronavirus testing and contact tracing rather than being forced into quarantine on their return to the UK, according to government testing tsar Professor John Newton, which could replace plans for mandatory 14-day quarantine that are opposed by some.
Speed, compliance and monitoring crucial to test and trace programs (University College London) – “Test, trace and isolate programs could help control the spread of COVID-19 if test results are delivered quickly, contacts are traced and public compliance is high, finds a report co-authored by UCL’s Professor Dame Anne Johnson.”
100+ Arizona Physicians: Test, trace and isolate in Arizona now (Tucson.com opinion) – “As physicians, we know that it is imperative that our state acts urgently and decisively if we are to save the lives of perhaps thousands of Arizonans who could otherwise die needlessly from this terrible disease. This is a STAT call to action.”
Why Contact Tracing Apps Will Be The Biggest Test Yet Of Data Privacy Versus Public Safety (Forbes) – “Most of us don’t really understand the exact details of what data will be collected [in contact tracing apps], what it will be used for, and who will have access to it. This means that there is a danger that people may distrust these apps and refuse to use them. If an insufficient number of people decide to take part, the overall effectiveness of the app becomes greatly diminished.”
Real or Scam? How to Spot Phony Contact Tracing Calls and Texts (NBC Bay Area) – The state says California Connected callers will only share health information about possible exposure. They will not ask for any personal information, like your Social Security Number or bank accounts. They won’t ask any personal health questions. And, they will not charge you anything.
The founder of a contact tracing firm that’s fielded 80,000 job applications in 5 weeks describes what he’s looking for in an applicant (Business Insider) – Waters urges organizations to hire locally, and to ensure that contact tracers belong to communities that are hard-hit by the pandemic.
Don’t Mix Policing with COVID-19 Contact Tracing (Electronic Frontier Foundation) – This analogy is misleading and dangerous. It also underlines the need for public health officials to practice strict data minimization—including a ban on sharing with police any personal information collected through contact tracing.
Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt recommends that a law be passed governing COVID-19 contact tracing (WIBW) – The state Attorney General says that this process needs more of a legal framework for the protection of personal information and civil liberties.
Legacy at Town Square senior living community using device for contact tracing (ABC7 Amarillo) – “They can retroactively go back and rewind 14 days and look at which individuals came in contact with other individuals and the duration of the contact in those rooms,” Wilmink said.
‘It’s all over the board.’ California still far from testing everyone in elder care homes (Los Angeles Times) – Despite Gov Newsom’s plans to make nursing home testing a priority, California’s testing in elder care homes has been scattershot.
Delaware begins virus contact tracing operations (Delaware State News) – Delaware rolls out its contact tracing program at the same time as it enters phase one of reopening.
Elkins-Randolph Health Department hosts community COVID-19 testing in response to Huttonsville outbreak (CBS Fox 59) – After a COVID-19 outbreak at a correctional facility in Elkins, West Virginia, the local health department set up two free testing sites to see if the outbreak had reached farther than the facility.
May 27-30, 2020
Contact tracing can help avoid another lockdown. Can it work in the U.S.? (STAT) – Experts say U.S. needs “more money, more people and more cooperation” to make contact tracing effective.
Florida Plans to Increase Contact Tracing Capacity (WUSF) – State is working to add 600 contact tracers in next three weeks.
How rapid can coronavirus tests get? (Fortune) – Testing speed is key to managing a virus outbreak.
Switzerland pilots a contact tracing app using Apple and Google’s tech (Engadget) – SwissCovid appears to be the first app to put the Apple-Google model to use.
Coronavirus Testing Machines Are Latest Bottleneck In Troubled Supply Chain (NPR) – “Civilian labs and the Pentagon say they’ve had trouble getting the sophisticated, automated machines that can run hundreds of diagnostic tests at once.”
Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening (Politico) – Problems include inflated metrics for testing.
Chicago announces grant for community-based organizations to expand contact tracing (Chicago.gov) – The $56 million two-year grant will enable organizations to bring on 600 new contact tracers.
Why is Missouri so far behind on testing and contact tracing? (The Kansas City Star) – Op-ed on the state’s lack of coronavirus testing and the impact on its recovery plan.
Don’t waste coronavirus tests on those already showing symptoms. There’s a smarter way. (USA Today) – Opinion piece arguing that testing should focus on symptom-free essential workers.
May 24-26, 2020
While U.S. struggles to roll out coronavirus contact tracing, Germany has been doing it from the start (Washington Post) – “Epidemiologists say the [low-tech] effort has been essential to the country’s ability to contain its coronavirus outbreak and avoid the larger death tolls seen elsewhere, even with a less stringent shutdown than in other countries.”
The one vital message of nearing 100,000 US deaths (CNN) – “Jeffrey D. Sachs writes that it’s time for Congress and the White House to end the deadly politics of distraction and start focusing on ways to control the Covid-19 pandemic.”
De Blasio hires 1,700 contact tracers, downplays privacy concerns (Politico) – “New York City has hired 1,700 contact tracers as part of an effort to ramp up coronavirus testing and contain new cases,” along with a $10 million ad campaign, plus conducting 50,000 coronavirus tests a day by Aug. 1.
Privacy Concerns Over Utah’s COVID-19 Tracing App Spur Proposal Of New Bill (KEUR 90.1) – “State Sen. Dan Hemmert, R-Orem, is planning to sponsor a bill aimed at protecting the privacy of Utahns who use the state’s COVID-19 voluntary contact tracing app”
Wayne County, Ohio doubles contact tracing efforts (Wooster Daily Record) – “The eradication of smallpox, for example, was achieved not by universal immunization alone, but by exhaustive contact tracing to find all infected persons,” said Susan Varnes, the director of patient care at the Wayne County Health Department.
Don’t Be Fooled by Covid-19 Contact-Tracing Scams (Wired) – For example, real health department contact tracers will never ask you for your Social Security number, credit card details, or other financial information.
How Clark County COVID-19 contact sleuths trace, notify those at risk (Las Vegas Review-Journal) – Its work has helped identify clusters of cases at nursing homes and at the Allegiant Stadium construction project.
Joint Task Force to Provide COVID-19 Testing in Texas Nursing Homes (NBC DFW) – Fire chiefs in Texas collaborate to provide testing for regional nursing homes.
Virginia Struggles With Testing: There’s Not Nearly Enough Supply (Courthouse News Service) – In past press conferences, Governor Ralph Northam set a benchmark of 10,000 tests day for reopening. Despite that, areas of Virginia are opening up while the state is only conducting 4,500 tests per day.
Maine’s largest hospital labs see progress amid coronavirus testing struggles (Piscataquis Observer) – Laboratories in Maine have not been using their full test processing capacity because of a lack of tests. That could soon change as MaineHealth, the largest health system in northern New England, expands testing.
May 20-23, 2020
‘How Could the CDC Make That Mistake?’ (The Atlantic) – An investigation finds the CDC is conflating the results of viral and antibody tests for the coronavirus, which is distorting the country’s picture of the pandemic.
Governor Hogan Announces Launch of Robust Contact Tracing Operation to Support Local Health Departments (press release) – Maryland’s governor announced that 1,400 contact tracers will be “fully operational” statewide next week.
Number of COVID-19 and antibody tests in Texas increasing, but state still falls short (ABC13.com) – Texas is not reaching Governor Abbot’s goal of 30,000 tests per day.
The race is on for a COVID-19 test you can take at home (MIT Technology Review) – People may be able to test themselves for the coronavirus by the end of 2020.
The Success of Contact Tracing Doesn’t Just Depend on Privacy (WIRED; Op-ed) – How accuracy concerns will play a key role in adopting contact tracing technology.
Trained and ready, Washington’s contact tracers making hundreds of calls to help fight coronavirus (The Seattle Times) – State has trained more than 2,100 people to work as contact tracers.
Virginia to spend $58 million in federal aid to expand contact tracing of COVID-19 cases (Richmond Times-Dispatch) – State plans to hire 1,000 contact tracers and 200 communicable disease investigators.
As the Nation Begins Virus Tracing, It Could Learn From This N.J. City (New York Times) – A highly effective contact tracing program is underway in Paterson, N.J.
May 16-19, 2020
Johns Hopkins trains 22,000 contact tracers on Coursera in the first week(Coursera Blog) – The course teaches the fundamentals of contact tracing, such interview strategies and ethical considerations.
Texas signs $295M deal with MTX Group to manage COVID-19 contact tracing buildup (Houston Chronicle) – MTX signed the 27-month deal as Texas Gov. Greg Abbott tries to get 4,000 contact tracers in place by the end of the month.
Illinois formalizes contact tracing program with 2 pilot counties (Journal Gazette & Times-Courier) – The two pilot counties, St. Clair County, outside St. Louis, and Lake County, north of Chicago, will immediately ramp up their contact tracing capabilities for newly-discovered COVID-19 patients.
Most states still aren’t doing enough coronavirus testing (Axios) – 40 states are falling behind in their COVID-19 testing goals, according to data from the Harvard Global Health Initiative. Reopening without sufficient testing means the virus would be more likely to increase its spread in these states.
State and Federal Data on COVID-19 Testing Don’t Match Up (The Atlantic) – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is providing state-by-state testing data for the first time, but its numbers don’t match what’s being reported by states.
South Omaha testing site runs out of tests after giant drive-thru turnout(WOWT 6 News) – A drive-thru testing site in South Omaha ran out of 300 tests in one day. The city plans to open up more drive-thru testing sites this week.
With New York Deal, CVS Health Broadens U.S. Coronavirus Testing (Forbes) – New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo teams up with CVS to reach 40,000 tests per day in the state.
May 15, 2020
I Enrolled in a Coronavirus Contact Tracing Academy (WIRED) – What to expect from online contact tracing courses.
Contact tracing must balance privacy and public health (STAT) – Op-ed from Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and his brother David, a physician and president of The Commonwealth Fund, on the privacy concerns surrounding contact tracing efforts.
Millions risk being locked out of Covid-19 contact tracing app (The Guardian) – British officials are being warned that obstacles such as lack of internet access and technical skills could reduce adoption of digital contact tracing apps in the UK.
Democrats introduce bill to protect health data used for tracing the coronavirus (CNBC) – Measures include requiring companies collecting data to meet security standards.
May 14, 2020
Availability of coronavirus tests for NYC has increased significantly.
“Over the past couple of weeks, the United States has seen significant improvements not just with the raw number of Covid-19 tests but also with other metrics experts use to gauge the scope of the US’s coronavirus outbreak and its testing capacity.”
COVID-19 testing expands in Nevada after shortages (8newsnow.com)
State is now testing approximately 3,000 residents per day.
Nearly 40% of Icelanders are using a covid app—and it hasn’t helped much (MIT Technology Review)
Impact has been small relative manual contract tracing for the coronavirus.
Looks at some of the privacy concerns surrounding approaches to screening for COVID-19 symptoms and contact tracing.
May 13, 2020
State will offer free COVID-19 tests to all Vermonters who want one at pop-up clinics (Burlington Free Press)
Asymptomatic residents can now get tested at pop-up clinics around Vermont.
Eleven million people in the Wuhan district are expected to be tested as the result of a minor outbreak.
Shortages of different supplies exist at different times in the supply chain for coronavirus tests.
As COVID-19 Testing Grows, So Does Contact Tracing (Wisconsin Public Radio)
Wisconsin health officials have trained more than 400 contact tracers to help curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“Without an overarching plan, state public health agencies are developing their own strategies on hiring and training contact tracers.”
Recommendations include increasing usage of masks, implementing a more effective testing strategy and hiring more contact tracers.
May 12, 2020
Program is open to University of Houston students and staff members.
The U.S. leads the world in total tests for the coronavirus, but it trails several countries when controlling statistics for population.
“Aviation and public health experts said that tests are unlikely to be the silver bullet that will revive the industry in the near term.”
Interview with former acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Andy Slavitt and ex-FDA chief Scott Gottlieb on federal and state reopening strategies.
Testifying before a Senate committee, Anthony Fauci said the U.S. will “without a doubt” see a resurgence in COVID-19 infections and deaths in the fall absent if testing, contact tracing and social distancing measures aren’t ramped up.
May 11, 2020
Maine’s new testing, tracing capabilities may allow for quicker, safer reopening (Portland Press-Herald)
State is increasing its coronavirus testing volume by an additional 5,000 per week.
Defense Department wants help improving COVID-19 contact tracing at NC’s Fort Bragg (The News & Observer)
DoD’s National Security Innovation Network is asking students for ideas on automating identification and contact tracing of potential coronavirus patients.
This course will train an army of contact tracers. You can take it, too. (Washington Post)
The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health unveiled a course on online platform Coursera to teach fundamentals of contact tracing.
Techsplained@FE: Is Bluetooth enough for contact tracing? (Financial Express)
Column on need to use Bluetooth and GPS technologies for successful contact-tracing programs.
Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) call for expanding national service programs in response to coronavirus pandemic.
U.S. has to ramp up coronavirus testing to give employees sense of security to return to work, according to Tennessee senator.
May 10, 2020
App would allow people in under-resourced countries to assess symptoms and may have Bluetooth feature for contact tracing.
Now hiring: New York looking for thousands of contact tracers to slow COVID-19 spread (Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)
Department of Health has received 7,000 applications since May 1.
Not enough residents with coronavirus symptons are seeking tests.
Rundown of some issues associated with COVID-19 diagnostic tests, including concerns about accuracy.
Contact tracing by app: life-saving or invasion of privacy? (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
Privacy advocates are monitoring potential issues related to civil liberties involved in digital contact-tracing apps.
May 9, 2020
There’s One Big Reason the U.S. Economy Can’t Reopen (The Atlantic)
“The country faces the same problem today that it did two months ago: There are not enough tests to contain the virus.”
“President Trump is increasingly dismissing the consensus of health experts, scientists and some of his Republican allies that widespread testing is key to the safe end of restrictions meant to slow the spread of the deadly coronavirus.”
Curbing Coronavirus With a Contact-Tracing App? It’s Not So Simple. (The Wall Street Journal)
Discussion of limitations of digital contract-tracing technology.
State has 3,500 contact-tracing volunteers working with local health departments.
Tips for finding work as a contact tracer, including details on state programs.
Feature on state’s contact-tracing program, which is expected to include 400 volunteers.
May 8, 2020
Explainer on current debate over allocating COVID-19 tests in light of current supply constraints.
Adults who aren’t showing coronavirus symptoms can now schedule tests at the drug store chain’s testing sites.
City plans to have 24 testing sites in service by the end of the month and 300 employees dedicated to contact tracing.
FDA authorizes CRISPR-based test for COVID-19 (The Verge)
Authorized only for emergency use, test can return results in approximately one hour.
Podcast: How to break America’s covid-19 testing bottleneck (MIT Technology Review)
Discussion of fixing coronavirus testing shortfalls at scale.
Feature exploring slow uptake of digital contact tracing strategies by governments.
Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee plans for new COVID-19 contact tracers (Chattanooga Times Fress Press)
State looking to add to its current workforce of more than 200 contact tracers.
May 7, 2020
Describes the differences between centralized and de-centralized approaches to contact tracing via digital apps.
More than 1,000 newly hired contract tracers are starting work.
Government proposal calls for workforce of up to 4,200 people working for as long as 18 months.
State-by-state look at testing rates.
The sharp hypocrisy of the White House position on testing (Washington Post)
Op-ed on the discrepancy between the Trump administration’s internal policy on coronavirus testing and its guidance to the public.
Millions more coronavirus tests necessary to reopen country, according to Senate HELP Committee chair Lamar Alexander.
Updates to a survey of states’ programs show they now expect to hire a total of 30,000 more contact tracers than they did a week ago.
May 6, 2020
What’s Behind South Korea’s COVID-19 Exceptionalism? (The Atlantic)
“South Korean public-health officials recognized the necessity of early testing and the importance of isolating new patients to prevent secondary infections.”
Self-reporting app that allows users to provide health information voluntarily.
State hiring people to do contact tracing for coronavirus (FOX11online.com)
More than 1,000 people have applied to do contact tracing in Wisconsin.
Florida doesn’t have enough coronavirus contact tracers. Here’s how you can help (South Florida Sun Sentinel)
Practical tips on who to call and what to tell them if you test positive for the coronavirus.
May 5, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont says Connecticut should have adequate levels of coronavirus testing in place by May 20.
Two sites can test up to 1,500 essential employees combined.
Technique does not require the testing reagents that have been in short supply.
Lockdown Is a Blunt Tool. We Have a Sharper One (New York Times)
Op-ed co-authored by former CDC director Tom Frieden promoting “Box It In” strategy of contact tracing to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Platform will include manual contact tracing.
May 4, 2020
Contact tracing virus helping Pa. counties (Altoona Mirror)
Local officials say contact tracing program helping northern Pennsylvania loosen social distancing restrictions.
Google and Apple preview how contact tracing apps will work (9to5Google.com)
First stage of exposure notification effort coming later this month.
It’s hard to overstate how uneven the access to critical test kits remains in the nation’s largest state.
As deaths fall, Governor Cuomo gives criteria for reopening (New York Times)
Requirements for state’s 10 regions include at least 30 virus tests per 1,000 residents conducted a month and at least 30 working contact tracers per 100,000 residents.
Vermont Health Officials Discuss Plans For Expanded Testing, Contact Tracing (Vermont Public Radio)
State aiming to conduct 7,000 COVID-19 tests per week.
May 4 Update: US COVID-19 Test Results (Calculated Risk)
There were more than 230,000 tests reported in the last 24 hours, with a positive rate of 9.4%.
May 3, 2020
Public health officials say contact tracing defies quick technological fixes.
Why coronavirus testing isn’t so simple (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Explains concerns about reliability of test results.
Concerns are arising about the coordination of the UK’s COVID-19 testing program.
Wisconsin has seen its highest number of completed tests so far in the last 10 days, but positive results aren’t falling.
Contact tracing puts North Dakota at forefront (Bismarck Tribune)
With 350 trained workers, North Dakota is the only state to meet the benchmark of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 people.
Q&A: Paul Romer on How to Survive the Chaos of the Coronavirus (The New Yorker)
Nobel Prize-winning economist believes bimonthly testing would instill confidence in public.
May 2, 2020
A new CDC document outlines critical features of digital apps for contact tracing.
Program could eventually include as many as 3,800 employees doing contact tracing.
COVID-19 ‘testing blitz’ begins in Arizona (Arizona Republic)
Goal is to test 60,000 state residents over three consecutive Saturdays.
State is seeking “more accurate understanding of the true rate of infections in Oregon and to have ongoing precision monitoring of any new outbreaks,” governor says.
Survey finds six-in-ten Americans say tracking people’s locations through their cellphone would not make much of difference in limiting virus’ spread.
May 2 Update: US COVID-19 Test Results (Calculated Risk)
There were nearly 265,000 tests reported in the last 24 hours, with a positive rate of 11.4%.
DC Steps Up COVID-19 Contact Tracing as Cases Rise (NBCWashington.com)
The District of Columbia is hiring 900 contact tracers.
May 1, 2020
State deploying “Caring Vans” as part of plan to test 90,000 residents in May.
Approximately 15,000 tests were submitted to the state health department from April 30 to May 1, the highest-single day total for Virginia so far.
The move to reopen the Texas economy has sparked fears of a second wave of the virus if the state can’t increase testing.
COVID-19 testing, isolating and contact tracing are seen as vital to playing college sports again.
COVID-19 Testing Capacity Improving, Though Challenges Remain (Wisconsin Public Radio)
In Wisconsin, the global shortage of nasal pharyngeal swabs and unstable supply chains continue to hampering efforts to test more residents.
Gov. Kate Brown Lays Out COVID-19 Testing And Contact Tracing As Keys To Reopening Oregon (Oregon Public Broadcasting)
State is hiring 600 new employees to do contact tracing.
April 30, 2020
Inslee rolls out COVID-19 risk assessment dashboard with data (Medium – WA Governor’s Office)
Washington state’s new dashboard shares data behind COVID-19 policy decisions, including gauging capacity for testing and contact tracing.
April 30 Update: US COVID-19 Test Results (Calculated Risk)
More than 200,000 tests reported in the last 24 hours, with a positive rate of 13.5%.
The state plans to hire 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents in affected areas.
Public health experts say the state-by-state patchwork won’t meet the country’s overall need for contact tracing.
The UK government is testing its digital tracing app.
Australian contact-tracing app hits two million downloads (The Telegraph)
The CovidSafe app was downloaded a million times within hours of its launch in Australia.
No new COVID-19 diagnoses in South Korea since early February.
Rundown of latest efforts in U.S. and around the world to boost contact tracing.
April 29, 2020
Public health organizations can start building applications ahead of the launch of a contract-tracing system in mid-May.
Indiana is contracting with a private firm to open a call center staffed with more than 500 people trained to conduct interviews.
Pennsylvania, New Jersey need far more contact tracers to handle the coronavirus (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
Pennsylvania will release its plans for a contact tracing program later this week.
Ragtag army of virus tracers shapes up, with states hiring fast (Seattle Times)
States are taking dramatically different approaches to contact tracing programs.
With a second round of the coronavirus “inevitable,” the country’s top infectious disease doctor says testing, tracing and isolating will be key to making sure the next wave isn’t as deadly.
State is near the top for positive cases but at the bottom for the number of tests given in U.S.
To Open the US Economy, We Need a Contact Tracing Workforce of 180,000 (Medium – Andy Slavitt)
The former head of Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act for the Obama administration explains the process behind developing a proposal from public health and medical experts to Congress aimed at ramping up testing and contract tracing in the U.S.
The consensus of public health experts is that digital applications can’t offset the need for in-person, manual contract tracing.
April 28, 2020
An NPR survey shows the vast majority of states need to expand their public health workforces significantly to do contact tracing for tracking coronavirus exposures.
Understanding Digital Contact Tracing: Limitations, Implications and Recommendations (Medium – U.S. Digital Response)
Primer on automated approaches to contract tracing.
Coronavirus: How to Do Testing and Contact Tracing (Medium – Tomas Pueyo)
Looking at the specific steps required to open up the economy.
Interview with Marcus Plescia, chief medical officer at the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials, about the importance of contact tracing to combating COVID-19.