Commonwealth Provides Testing and Contact Tracing Update, Discusses New Digital Case Investigation Tool

Provides Testing and Contact Tracing Update, Discusses New Digital Case Investigation ToolDirector of Testing and Contact Tracing Michael Huff speaks at the virtual media briefing. (Credit: Commonwealth Media Services)

HARRISBURG, PA — Wolf Administration Director of Testing and Contact Tracing, Michael Huff, and Special Assistant on Contact Tracing for the Department of Health, Lindsey Mauldin, has presented an update on the state’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, including the introduction of a new digital tool to aid in case investigations and additional testing sites at Rite-Aid locations.

“Testing capacity for COVID-19 in Pennsylvania continues to expand,” Huff said. “The county and municipal health departments, Federally Qualified Health Centers, faith-based organizations, the Department of Health contract with AMI, and most recently, 19 additional Rite Aid locations, all are providing testing across Pennsylvania to help contain the spread of COVID-19. To date over 7.4 Million test results have been received in Pennsylvania.”

Rite-Aid announced its additional testing locations this week, and the Wolf Administration first announced an expanded contract with AMI on December 1. Last week, AMI regional testing sites were in Clinton, Delaware, Greene, Warren, and Wyoming counties, where 6,240 individuals were testing. Current testing sites in Cambria, Franklin, Luzerne, Mercer and Montour counties concluded yesterday. The next series of sites will be operational just after Christmas.

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Lindsey Mauldin discussed the new digital case investigation tool, developed to help expedite this critical start to the contact tracing process.

The Department of Health unveiled the tool on Monday. Named the Connect & Protect Form, Pennsylvanians 19 through 64 who reside in a county without its own county or municipal health department will still receive a call from a public health professional, but now will be asked to provide their email address to receive the Connect & Protect Form to complete as soon as possible.

The tool enables public health professionals to reach out to more Pennsylvanians in record time, cutting down the time it would typically take to complete a case investigation.

Once the digital case investigation is completed through the Connect & Protect Form, contact tracers will also begin to reach out to the close contacts identified and successfully monitor those Pennsylvanians to ensure they have supports in place if they later develop symptoms.

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“Case investigation is essential to learn more about where an individual diagnosed with COVID-19 went and who they came in contact with while infectious,” Mauldin said. “The Connect & Protect form takes someone just a few minutes to fill out, saving time – our most precious resource. It is critical that all those who test positive take the time to complete their case investigation whether over the phone or through the Connect & Protect form.”

Learn more about testing and find a map of COVID-19 testing sites here.

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