LOS ANGELES, CA / ACCESSWIRE / September 24, 2020 / As COVID-19 infections continue nationwide, the key to further slowing the spread is to ask those infected to self-isolate and to identify the people in their circle of contacts who may have been exposed to the virus. This proven public health process, called contact tracing, is successfully used in every outbreak of highly infectious diseases from tuberculosis to measles.
Contact tracing has become a central pillar of COVID-19 response efforts, as preventing just a single COVID-19 infection has an exponential effect on the chain of transmission, leading to a larger reduction of positive cases over time.
Working in tandem with the efforts of the State of California's COVID-19 response infrastructure, Kaiser Permanente, the nation's leading health care provider and not-for-profit healthcare system, is committing $63 million to support contact tracing in California in order to slow the spread of COVID-19.
One of the hardest parts of reducing infections is that it requires more people to stay home and continue isolating, which is particularly challenging for those who do not have the means to remain completely isolated. Dr. Cynthia Telles, a board member for Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, is acutely aware of the concerns of these communities.
"This new funding initiative will connect people who need to stay home with necessary resources, such as food assistance, housing assistance, child care, pharmacy deliveries, and much more," said Dr. Cynthia Telles. "Particularly in the face of an unprecedented health crisis like COVID-19, it is essential that people know that when they stay home to protect other people in their community, they will have support."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes that contact tracing helps protect people, their families and communities by:
- Letting people know they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms of COVID-19.
- Helping people get tested if they have been exposed to COVID-19.
- Asking people to self-isolate if they have COVID-19 or self-quarantine if they are a close contact of someone with the disease.
Since joining the Kaiser Permanente board in 2003, and serving as chair of the board's Community Health Committee, Dr. Telles has fought tirelessly for healthcare resources and assets to go directly to the communities that need them most.
"We are proud to be working with Governor Newsom's administration to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and are optimistic about the benefit our contact tracing assistance will have on statewide COVID-19 response efforts," said Dr. Cynthia Telles.
The Kaiser Permanente funding will not only go to connecting Californians with resources necessary to continue self-isolations and quarantining, but they will also directly fund specialized contact tracing teams hired directly from the communities where they will work. As local hires, these teams can provide information and resources to community members with whom they have relationships in their preferred language.
"COVID-19 has disproportionately affected Black and Latino communities," said Dr. Cynthia Telles. "And we are working to ensure that concrete and significant resources are delivered to the communities where there's a real need."
If you have been around someone with COVID-19, the CDC recommends you self-quarantine, staying home and away from others:
- Stay home away from others for 14 days (self-quarantine) after your last contact with an infected person and monitor your health.
- Stay away especially from people who are at higher risk for getting very sick from COVID-19, such as older adults and people with other medical conditions, if possible.
- If you have a fever, cough or other symptoms of COVID-19, ask your care provider if you should get medical care or testing.
- If you need support or assistance while in self-quarantine, your county health department and many local community organizations may be able to provide assistance.
For more information, reach out to Andrew Mitchell at Cambridge Global at 404-955-7133.
SOURCE: Kaiser Permanente
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