State to use contact tracing and expand testing for COVID-19
Drive-up COVID-19 test sites are currently being conducted outside the Stanwood Library and the Marysville Library. Updates and registration information is available at www.snohd.org/drive-thru-testing . They were also being done a couple weeks ago. In this photo, the Monroe Library was a test site.
SNOHOMISH — The state has a team of almost 1,400 people to trace coronavirus cases to keep on top of stopping it from spreading.
Gov. Jay Inslee called contact tracing “the next major step in our effort to defeat (COVID-19)” and using it will be “supremely important in our effort to reopen our state” in a news conference last week.
If you test positive for COVID-19, an interviewer will call you wanting to learn who you have been around so the tracer can alert those people that they were possibly exposed to the coronavirus.
They won’t tell your contacts that you’ve personally tested positive. The same goes for if you receive a call that you may have been exposed: they won’t reveal who.
The tracer will not ask for your immigration status, social security number, financial information, or your marital status.
People who feel ill are asked to immediately confine themselves at home until they are cleared by a negative COVID-19 test. A request for clarification on how people staying at home can get a test brought to their home was unanswered from a call to the media line for the state joint military team handling the coronavirus epidemic in Washington state by press time.
The state Department of Health says to call your healthcare provider or, if you don’t have one, to call your local health jurisdiction. The Snohomish County health district’s number is 425-339-5200.
If one person tests positive for COVID-19, the entire household is expected to quarantine themselves in the home for 14 days. The stay-home request is even if you’re not sick.
The contact tracer will reach out daily to check in on whether you have any needs.
The tracer will “make sure (families) are as comfortable as possible during those 14 days” while they are in quarantine, Inslee said.
A request for clarification from the governor’s press team on what goods people can ask to be delivered to help someone maintain comfort during their 14-day quarantine — including “vice” items such as tobacco, marijuana or alcohol — and who will pay for these goods went unanswered by press time.
“If we’re feeling ill, it’s incredibly important we’re staying home and not spreading the virus,” state Secretary of Health Dr. John Wiesman said.
Scientists are finding COVID-19’s symptoms are quite varied. One telltale sign is newly losing your sense of smell and taste, but other symptoms include fever, dry cough, muscle pain, sore throat and shortness of breath or difficulty breathing. A new symptom in cases are “COVID toes” that look like frostbite, a Spanish study by dermatologists showed. Another is rashes and lesions on the body.
Scientists are finding the disease’s impacts are not restricted to the respiratory system, unlike what was most commonly believed earlier in the pandemic.
The tracing team of 1,371 people is comprised of people in local and state health agencies, the National Guard and individuals trained from the state Department of Licensing. The state plans to enlarge this tracing crew over time.
State officials believe the need for testing and tracing will increase as the state begins to allow more businesses to reopen.
Inslee said that right now the number of tracers it has at the moment “is more than adequate for our existing needs.”
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