State, Non-profit to Deploy 1,000 Case Workers to Trace Contacts of COVID-19 Patients

Working with a non-prof­it partner, Gov. Charlie Baker late last week called for 1,000 case workers to deploy throughout the state to track the people who had been in contact with pa­tients who are positive for the COVID-19 virus.

In his daily update on Thursday, Baker an­nounced the creation of the COVID-19 Commu­nity Tracing Collabora­tive (CTC) to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts. The state will work in collaboration with Partners In Health. It is the first effort of its kind nationwide.

The initiative will fo­cus on tracing the con­tacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients, and supporting individuals in quarantine, and builds on the efforts already under­way from the Command Center to leverage public health college students to augment the contact tracing being done by local boards of health.

The Collaborative will deploy nearly 1,000 contact tracers throughout the state to connect with COVID-19 patients and their contacts to support Massachusetts’ efforts to track and contain the virus.

Led by the administra­tion’s COVID-19 Response Command Center, Partners In Health will coordinate closely with the Massachu­setts Department of Public Health and the Executive Office of Health and Hu­man Services. Contact tracing will be combined with the state’s efforts to in­crease testing and will pro­vide support to people in quarantine in order to con­tain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

 “Enhanced contact trac­ing capability is another powerful tool for public health officials and health care providers in the battle against COVID-19,” said Governor Charlie Bak­er. “Massachusetts is the only state in the nation implementing this type of programming, and this col­laborative tracing initiative will break new ground as we work together to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Partners In Health will provide staff and contribute technical expertise in com­munity tracing. The Com­monwealth Health Insur­ance Connector Authority (CCA) will stand up a virtu­al support center and main­tain connectivity, while the Massachusetts Department of Health (DPH) will main­tain data, guides and pro­cesses. Accenture, a leading global professional services company, and Salesforce, a global leader in CRM, are implementing support center capabilities for the CTC’s tracing purposes.

“This is a key effort in the Commonwealth’s work to slow the spread of the virus by adding ca­pacity to reach individuals who have come in close contact with individuals are confirmed positive for COVID-19,” said Health and Human Services Sec­retary Marylou Sudders. “I encourage residents to co­operate with the operation so that we can further slow the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts.”

Contact tracing through the CTC will support the Baker-Polito Administra­tion’s ongoing efforts to ex­pand bed capacity, increase personal protective equip­ment (PPE) supplies and provide resources for health care providers and patients.

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