CONTACT TRACING & WHO EMPLOYS THEM
Definition: Contact Tracing is the process of attempting to identify (a) person(s) who has/have recently been in contact with someone. Within a medical perspective it would be those diagnosed with an infectious disease, especially in order to treat or quarantine them while trying to find out who they had been with to either try to trace back to patient zero OR get those exposed still within the incubation time frame tested. From a legal perspective contact tracing is trying to find the part(y/ies) involved in a matter. From a law enforcement perspective its trying to find witnesses or known associates of a criminal to catch them. From a business perspective its trying to find who really has the influence to make company decisions aka the idea leader that people follow. From a political perspective contact tracing is used for either connection promotion of like minded causes OR trying to damage someone based off the associates and company they keep.
WHO ROUTINELY IMPLOYED CONTACT TRACERS PRE COVID?: Pre COVID contact tracers were employed by law enforcement, political parties, attorneys, federal security clearance back ground investigators and some individuals via private investigators (PI's).
Employed Since COVID: Large major corporations, school districts, health department, attorney, political parties, attorneys, federal security clearance investigators, hospitials, researchers and an increase in individuals hiring private investigators.
INTERACTING WITH CONTACT TRACERS
DISCLAIMER: This is general circumstances. Depending upon exactly who they work for combined with existing case loads of the individual investigator they may be more through/detailed or ask for very little. Also each group employing contact tracers vary widely in verification method.
General Regardless of Type: The contact tracer will always try to verify that its you. Depending upon the policy of who they are working for that may be as simple as you verbally saying you are you, potential security questions for speaking on a following up call, age, Date of Birth (DOB) and or potentially other methods. Depending upon who the investigator works for, the importance of the information, the location of the jurisdiction both called from/in and applicable laws you may be required to answer some/all of the questions or might be in your rights to completely refuse also. Just know that if your speaking to a contact tracer of your private company and refuse to answer it may result in termination. When speaking with a government tracer/investigator refusal to answer may result in denied security clearance and or a subpoena. Regardless if required or not if you do choose to say anything please be truthful otherwise you risk causing bad data for a researcher and perjury if speaking with law enforcement or the government. Once verification is complete and chit chat of repour building is achieved they will then usually move onto demographic questions such as but not limited to race/ethnicity, income level and education level. Beyond that it really varies.
COVID-19/MEDICAL: In addition to the general they will also ask you for the following information. To follow will be a summary with the reason why.
WHEN THEY WILL ASK FOR CONTACTS: There are usually only three (3) time that a contact tracer or instigator will really push hard for contacts: 1: At the beginning early stages of a breakout or wave to try to shut down the transmission. 2: Their boss drives them non stop hard preaching of requirement. 3: After the fact researchers for tracing patterns and patient zero. In MOST cases the person or places will remain anonymous, personal identifiers will be removed and help appropriate medical professionals/government better deal with and understand the virus threats.
Contact Tracers (for COVID-19 Medical Purposes) have two (2) areas where they are highly effective. The first area is early shut down of COVID-19 in the beginning stages of an outbreak or wave to keep cases down with isolation. The second stage is after the fact research for statistics, reliable data for future treatment info and developing guidance from the data and sample sets.
Incorporate permeant contact tracing positions into every health department in America. When times are good have them be part time flex employees of doing 10-20 hours per week and take over the calling of reported STD's to health departments as well. When pandemics happen, flu outbreaks in schools, mass food poisonings in restaurants and or an area of a country is infected then activate them as full time employees. By keeping them on part time they get down time while still collecting a pay check, are in the known with the health department and know how to operate the systems. This way when disaster strikes instead of other professionals having to take time away from their routine duties you have people in place knowing how to work the system and can go full time instead of constantly having to hire people, train people and start from scratch every time. This is a public health necisity that I call on to be implemented.
Before COVID-19 very few people knew what contact tracing was let alone rarely if ever having contact with a contact tracer. Since COVID-19 you've probably heard many politicians call for a need of contract tracers to help combat COVID-19. Contact Tracing is very important however not the only tool and depending upon where one is in a contagious stage the effort varies. This page will be divided into four (4) sections. Those sections will be Defining Contact Tracing & Who Employs Them, Interacting with Contact Tracers, Effectiveness of Contact Tracing and finally a PROPOSAL to incorporate contact tracers for infectious disease into the workforce.