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Coronavirus

How it works: Contact tracing in Riverside County

Riverside County has been contact tracing for coronavirus as places are re-opening to determine people who have been exposed to coronavirus without knowing it. They are using contact tracers to stop the spread of coronavirus.

Barbara Cole is the director of public health's disease control branch. She said the process starts with case investigators. These case investigators call people who have tested positive for cornavirus. She added, "They ask about their social network, they ask about work, they ask about school. The case investigator then turns that over to a contact tracer." The contact tracer then contacts those who might have been exposed. Contact tracers, "Determine whether or not they are having symptoms suggestive of coronavirus. Provide education and then from that individual find out where they’ve been" said Cole.

The number of contact tracers working for Riverside County continues to increase. Cole said they have about 250 right now. On average, each contact tracer is identifying seven to ten people exposed to one individual.

Cole said, "We have seen higher numbers in congregate settings like skilled nursing facilities, because it's a group setting. We have had increased numbers in correctional settings and we have had a variety of businesses with cases." She also mentioned that there is not enough data at this time to show that a specific kind of business has seen a higher trend in cases. Cole said "If we know someone works in a business, part of the role of the contact tracer is to call that business and assess what preventative measures are in place." Businesses are encouraged to tell employees that someone has tested postitive but should not identify the individual. Employees who are worried about a positive case can also report cases by calling the Emergency Operations Center at 951-955-6483.

Cole emphasized, "It protects the community, it protects the workplace by them sharing information with us so we can stop the spread."

News Channel 3's Taban Shaifi will have more tonight, all new at 6 p.m.

To find more information about contact tracing, visit our previous article.

Kaiser recommends that those in the Coachella Valley who are elderly and have underlying health conditions, including individuals who are HIV positive, limit non-essential travel and avoid large public gatherings.

Health officials said anyone who thinks they might be experiencing symptoms of the virus and want to be seen at Eisenhower Health should call the hospital hotline first at 760-837-8988. Avoid the spread of this illness.
Residents with further questions can call 2-1-1 and 800–CDC –INFO (800 – 232 – 4636) with any questions.

Public health recommendations for all Riverside County residents during community spread:

Practice social distancing, which is remaining out of places where people meet or gather and avoid using public transportation, if possible.
Do not attend work, school or events when sick. Stay home. Cough into your elbow or tissue. Wash hands frequently and use hand sanitizer often.
Stay away from anyone who is sick.

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Taban Sharifi

Taban Sharifi is a Meteorologist and Reporter with KESQ News Channel 3, The Desert’s News & Weather Leader. Learn more about Taban here.

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