A person sick with coronavirus. Who have you been in contact with lately? Once that question is answered and there is a list of names and a timeline, resources are needed to locate people, test them and, if necessary, treat them healthily. All of this is a legion of telephone trackers, a kind of detective health brigade that is being launched in other countries and that is made up of various profiles: from retired or unemployed medical personnel to army or military cadets in the reserve.RELATED
Health authorities are concluding that contact tracing is a key method of preventing the spread of disease and preventing future surges. A method that may be compatible with tracking applications that are being developed but is not technology replaceable.
Belgium. The Belgian government has announced that it will hire 2,000 people to work in call centers tasked with investigating suspected coronavirus cases.
Staff will talk to people who have the virus, find out who they have been in contact with, and then notify people they think they have contracted it.
The tracer team will be distributed regionally, with 200 in Brussels, 600 in Wallonia and 1,200 in Flanders, according to the De Tijd newspaper.
Those identified by the contact trackers will be evaluated, if positive, they will be quarantined for two weeks.
Federal authorities are also working on the development of an application to locate possible coronavirus infections. A legal framework for the application is being designed and regional authorities would choose which developer they want to work with.
“For each newly infected person, the investigator would contact them asking who they have been in contact with for the past 14 days,” Gilles Vanden Burre, a Belgian environmental MP, explained to Euronews : “After that, the call center person will call these people to say, ‘You have been in contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19 today, so we recommend a number of things.’ give the person’s name. “
“It is essential to be able to follow the evolution of the disease in detail, because otherwise there is a risk of having a new peak in a few months and containment measures will have to be taken again, which nobody wants,” continues the Ecolo deputy.
United States. There are calculations that raise 300,000 people needed to comply with minimally effective tracking. The decentralized nature of the United States makes the teams even local.
In North Dakota, for example, authorities are recruiting health personnel on the reservation, seniors, and the military to make them a legion of trackers.
Andrew Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, has said that a massive test system needs to be built, with at least 30 tests per 1,000 people per month, as recommended by White House coronavirus adviser Deborah Birx.
Cuomo has also recognized that they need to hire thousands of contact trackers to trace and isolate the contacts of covid-19 confirmed patients – at least 30 contact trackers per 100,000 people. They currently have 500, a tenth of what there would be under that rule.
The United States currently has 2,200 disease research specialists, according to a report by the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), but would need at least 100,000 additional to track potential infections, according to a report from ASTHO itself, which rises to more than 300,000 if the “Wuhan method of 1 per 1,000 inhabitants” is followed.
In Ireland. The Army trains its youngest personnel to carry out follow-up tasks and telephone calls to the possible contacts of an infected person.
Contacts of all confirmed cases in the country have been contacted, according to authorities, which involved calling about 40 people per person. The authorities have explained that 2,000 calls a day are made from nine tracking centers throughout the country, and that they will try to increase it to 5,000 calls per day, according to The Telegraph.
The team consists of 200 tracers, but 1,700 have been trained in how to make the calls and could be used if the outbreak continues, The Irish Times reports. The trackers include Defense Force Cadets and so far more than 60,000 personal contacts have been made.
Germany. “We have evidence that almost half of the infections happen before the person who infects develops symptoms and people are infected a minimum of two days before developing them,” explained the German government’s top adviser, Christian Drosten.
And he argued: “That means that experts in tracing contacts and working with patients to identify those with whom they have been in contact run a race against time. They need help to know who are all the potential infected as soon as possible and that will require electronic tracking methods for the contacts. “
Under Germany’s contact tracking policy, every person who has come into contact with an infected patient in the last two weeks is tracked and examined.