New tool in Fairfax Co. fight against coronavirus

The Fairfax County, Virginia, online coronavirus data dashboard includes case counts, positivity rates and hospitalization — but now the county has introduced a new metric to its online coronavirus data dashboard: contact tracing.

The Public Health Department has over 400 contact tracers that call people who have recently tested positive for coronavirus. Tracers interview them and gather information about who was in close proximity to the positive case.

The new dashboard that was displayed for the first time Wednesday includes the percentage of COVID-positive people that were reached by tracer. And of those, how many were interviewed within one day. The first round of statistics come from Nov. 8 through Nov. 14. The data shows 86.2 % of cases were reached by tracers and of those 85.5% were interviewed within a day.

Contact Tracing Data
Contact tracing data for Fairfax County, Virginia.

The data show the success of reaching out to people that may have come into contact with the virus. After cases are interviewed, tracers determine who may have been exposed to the virus and then contact them. In that same week nearly 84% of contacts were reached by the Health department and of those reached 93.2% were interviewed by public health officials.

During interviews, contact tracers not only identify other people that may have been exposed but also offer public health guidance, refer testing for patients if they are symptomatic and enroll them in the health department’s monitoring program.

According to its website, the public health department staffs tracers from many different cultures and backgrounds to serve the diversity of residents in the county.

If you have any questions about contact tracing in Fairfax County, call the health department at 703-267-3511 or email ffxcovid@fairfaxcounty.gov.

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