What can you expect if you get a call from a COVID contact tracer?

Take a look at, hint and isolate has turn into the catch cry of the COVID-19 pandemic. Its recognised as an essential strategy for holding the unfold of the virus.

The hint half, after all, refers to contact tracing the method of figuring out individuals who might have come into contact with an contaminated individual, so we are able to forestall additional transmission of the virus.

Contact tracing can solely achieve success if three issues occur:

  1. the contact tracer asks the suitable questions

  2. the one who has examined constructive gives detailed and correct data on whom theyve had contact with

  3. each individual recognized as an in depth contact could be reached and quarantines as requested.

So what are you able to count on if a contact tracer calls you?

Learn extra:
Explainer: what is contact tracing and how does it help limit the coronavirus spread?

The contact tracers puzzle

For those whove examined constructive for COVID-19, a public well being officer will name to interview you. The contact tracer is enthusiastic about two particular time durations.

The primary piece of the contact-tracing puzzle is the time from two days earlier than you developed your first signs till the time you started your isolation. This is called the infectious interval.

For those who didnt develop signs, you may be requested in regards to the two days previous to your take a look at and the interval after you have been examined till you started isolating.

Contact tracers have an interest within the infectious interval as a result of that is when somebody who has examined constructive is almost certainly to infect others.

Contact tracers search to search out out who you may need handed the virus onto.

Contact tracers will ask you to recall in all places you went throughout your infectious interval, whom you have been with, what kind of contact you had with every individual, and for a way lengthy.

For instance, when you went to the pub for dinner youre more likely to be requested:

  • the place did you sit?

  • who was with you?

  • how lengthy have been you on the pub for?

  • did the employees serve on the desk or did you order on the bar?

  • did you go to the toilet?

  • was there social distancing?

  • did you speak to anybody else (apart from the folks you have been with)?

There is likely to be extra questions too.

Based mostly on all this data, contact tracers will decide who meets the definition of a close contact and subsequently must be referred to as, requested to quarantine, and adopted as much as examine in the event that they develop signs.

Learn extra:
How long are you infectious when you have coronavirus?

The second piece of the puzzle is the incubation period. Specialists consider the incubation interval for COVID-19 is up to 14 days. This implies when youre going to develop COVID signs, its more likely to occur inside 14 days of you being uncovered to the virus.

So, when you take a look at constructive, contact tracers may even ask you the place youve been and whom you have been with for the 14 days earlier than you developed signs.

For contact tracers this data is important. It may be the distinction between with the ability to cease the unfold or seeing many extra folks turn into contaminated with the virus.

When two or extra individuals who have examined constructive for COVID-19 report being on the identical place on the identical time, this results in a extra in-depth epidemiological investigation, and may also help establish different individuals who might have additionally been uncovered to the virus at this place and time.

Primarily, the primary piece of the puzzle is about ascertaining to whom you may need unfold the virus, whereas the second is extra involved with whom you may need picked it up from.

What if I cant keep in mind?

Many people cant keep in mind what we did two days in the past, not to mention daily for 14 days. Contact tracers might use quite a lot of instruments that will help you keep in mind the place you have been and what you have been doing.

They might ask you to search for your financial institution statements to recall the place you used your debit or bank card (they receivedt ask to see this, however it may assist jog your reminiscence). They might additionally ask you to examine your textual content messages, social media posts and pictures youve taken in your cellphone as a manner of serving to you keep in mind.

What about my proper to privateness?

Its not ordinary to be requested about the place you have been each minute of daily. On high of coping with the prognosis of COVID-19, this could be a confronting expertise. It may possibly really feel like an invasion of privateness and it would really feel threatening.

Some folks could also be concerned in issues they dont need others, together with folks near them, to learn about. For instance, a teen might not need their dad and mom to search out out they have been someplace they shouldnt have been; an grownup having an affair or participating in an criminality might need to hold their actions personal.

There are various causes folks might not really feel comfy disclosing their precise actions at each second of the day to a stranger on the cellphone.

Nonetheless, in case you are on this place, to maintain your family members and group secure, its important you reply the contact tracers questions truthfully and to the perfect of your capability.

Contact tracers are usually not there to guage you, report you or get you into hassle. Theyre sure by the Privateness Act 1988, which units out that well being data can only be used for the first objective for which it’s collected. So data collected via contact tracing can solely be used for contact tracing.

A woman sits on a couch, wrapped in a blanket, speaking on the phone. She has a laptop in front of her.
A contact tracing name could be confronting.

Making certain confidence within the course of

Its necessary to grasp there could also be many explanation why folks make choices to reveal or not disclose explicit issues.

Final week, authorities made judgemental statements and revealed the gender, nationality and place of business of the individual in South Australia who examined constructive for COVID-19 and didnt absolutely disclose their actions. This blame recreation, which unfold to the media and onto social media, will not be OK.

We have to construct a tradition of belief so folks really feel comfy disclosing private and personal data, figuring out they receivedt be judged or punished consequently. That is how well get the perfect outcomes from contact tracing.

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