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Contact tracing is a key part of battle against COVID

Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:11 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Va. (WDBJ) - A phone ringing may be the new sound of COVID for many of us.

And the health department hopes you’ll answer.

“Contact tracing can help us stop the spread of COVID-19,” said Jordan Shelton of the Central Shenandoah Health District. “It’s something that you can do if you test positive, making sure that you identify those close contacts to the health department staff member that calls you.”

As the Delta variant causes a new surge in cases, the health department says contact tracing is crucial.

“Really the whole purpose of contact tracing is to help folks that have tested positive compile a list of people that they’ve been around recently, so that those individuals can be notified,” Shelton said, “and that they can stop the spread themselves.”

The department receives notice of a positive test and will reach out to do contact tracing by phone, asking questions to help remember contacts. The process is confidential, and they’ll never ask for personal data like credit card numbers.

“Your close contacts don’t necessarily need to know it was you that tested positive,” Shelton explained. “The case investigator will not reveal that information without your consent.”

But they do say your help is essential to help stop the surge.

“It really is just something that a little thing – answering that call from a case investigator – can go so very far in stopping the spread and it doesn’t take you very long to have that conversation,” Shelton said.

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