(WKBN) – The Pennsylvania Department of Health has been encouraging residents to download the COVID Alert PA app, saying more than 864,000 have already done so to aid in the state’s contact tracing efforts.
“Please remember, even as our weather warms up, that answering the call from a public health professional remains important for us to contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19,” Acting Secretary of Health Alison Beam said.
Here’s how the process works:
A person with a positive COVID-19 result is contacted by a case investigator – a public health professional – to gather information and offer guidance. For the week ending March 27, public health professionals completed 6,391 case investigations. This equates to 25 percent of positive cases reported for the week.
Contact tracers take the case investigator reports and reach out to contacts identified in the reports. A total of 200 contact tracers reached out to individuals to perform digital case investigations through the Connect and Protect Form.
During this reporting week, there were 4,386 calls to reach 63 percent, or 2,781 individuals, successfully. Of the 2,184 that were sent forms, 39 percent, or 850 were returned.
Since the implementation of the Connect and Protect form on December 21, 2020 through March 27, the department has received 18,247 completed forms.
State health officials say you can help assist in contact tracing efforts in the following ways:
- Answer the call, then fill out the Connect and Protect form. A call from a case investigator will come in from a caller named, “PA Dept of Health.” The caller is a health profession who will provide you with information and help you keep someone else from also contracting COVID-19.
- Download the COVID-19 app. Since the Department of Health launched COVID Alert PA on September 22, the department has made updates to allow 13- through 17-year-old residents with parental consent to download the app and four new languages. This app is interoperable with 22 other states that also utilize the same notification exposure app technology.
- You can find more information on the state’s contact tracing efforts at the Department of Health’s website.