COVID-19 Community Tracing in Pima County

 

What is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing for the COVID-19 response means public health staff at PCHD are focused on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to help protect others who have been potentially exposed to the virus. The goal is to keep you healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19. Your participation in contact tracing not only helps connect you to medical support and resources, answering the call keeps your loved ones and community safe.

Why Your Help Matters!

People in Pima County have been reaching out to ask what they can do to help during the COVID-19 crisis. We are proud to live in, and support, such a caring community and it will truly take a community-wide effort to successfully stop the spread of this virus. Contact tracing is one way you impact the health of our county and beyond. Answer the call!

All Contact Tracing jobs in the Pima County are now filled.

How Does Contact Tracing/Community Tracing Work?

First, if you test positive, we will connect you with the support and resources you may need through your isolation. Then with your collaboration, the Contract Tracing Team will identify and reach out via phone and/or text to anyone you’ve had in-person contact with to contain the spread of the virus. Through this process, we will be able to better arrange testing, as well as medical and quarantine support for you and your loved ones. It is important to note that we will not release your name to anyone. Your information is confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is.

What is a "contact"?

You are considered a contact if:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact (hugged or kissed) someone who has COVID-19
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Someone with COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
If you fit any one of the above points, please monitor your symptoms and get a COVID-19 test.

NEW! In-person outreach

If we are not able to reach you by phone, text message, or email, we may attempt to reach you in-person to help you complete the health assessment process, monitor your symptoms and identify your contacts. While maintaining a safe physical distance outside your home, we will provide you with information and supplies to help support successful isolation and self-care. This outreach will help increase our effectiveness and continue to encourage ways to keep Pima County residents safe.

About Your Privacy:

Your information is confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is. Your information will not be shared with other agencies, including immigration officials. Additionally, we will not release your name to anyone on your contact list.

What to expect

Before a Contact Tracer calls you, start noting where you were while you were contagious and who you were with. This form can help you figure out where to start. Answer your phone if you get a call from "Pima Public Health." We are also trying to text people ahead of time to let you know we will be calling.

If you do not or cannot answer the phone, we will leave a voicemail. Please return the call after listening to the message.

Contact Tracers will never ask you for your social security number or bank information. They may confirm your name and date of birth.

The Contact Tracing Team will not share your identify with any contacts you identify as possible exposure. We do encourage you to reach out to people you were around during the contagious period, if you are comfortable doing so.

By providing as much information as you can to the Contact Tracer, you will help keep the community safe and healthy. 

We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19, thank you for doing your part!

Guidance on what to do if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19


Can I Get a Job or Volunteer as a Contact Tracer?

Volunteer - Anyone with a medical background can register. Volunteers will be contacted as needs expand or change.

Work - PCHD is contracting with Maximus Health Services, Inc. to manage the expansion of the contact tracing efforts and staff for COVID-19. 

  • All contact tracing positions are currently filled.

Contract Process - On July 6, the County announced a contract with Maximus Health Services, Inc. to manage expanded contact tracing efforts for COVID-19.

You will get a call if:

  • You test positive for COVID-19
  • You are listed as a contact of someone with COVID-19

Calls are made between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

If you do not answer, we will leave a voicemail. Please check that message and return the call.

What happens when a Contact Tracer calls?

You will receive a text before a call, to let you know we are calling.

When a PCHD Contact Tracer calls, the caller ID may read "Pima Health Dept.", begin with 833-771-???? or 520-724-???, or be blank.

The contact tracer will ask you for a list of all of the places you went to while you were symptomatic in addition to the two days before you started feeling sick. They will ask for a list of people you have been near – within six feet – during that same time period. If you got tested without having symptoms (asymptomatic), we’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your test date. We will ask for the phone numbers of anyone you list and we will contact them get them to monitor their health or get them tested if necessary. If you feel comfortable, we will encourage you to give your contacts a heads up that PCHD will be calling, but we will not identify you as the person who potentially exposed them. We’ll call your contacts and let them know they have been exposed so they can get tested, but not tell them your name.

If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the PCHD Contact Tracer will discuss any needs you may have and may connect you with a care resource coordinator who will help you get the support you need. Throughout your illness, PCHD will check in to monitor your symptoms and needs.

Beware of scammers: PCHD will never ask you for your social security number or insurance information.
 

How long does contact tracing take?

As you’ve probably heard, the time it takes for a COVID-19 test to come back varies by lab. But every positive is reported into a State-wide online system that we have continual access to. Once we get report of a positive, we have to get the name and contact information of the patient. After that, it depends on how soon we can talk with the patient and how long it takes them to get us a list of contacts. We typically complete the phone interview with the patient within 1.7 days of getting the positive report.
If we are not able to reach you by phone, text message or email to complete your health assessment, we may attempt to reach out to you in person.

We WILL:
  • Wear a face mask and ask you to wear one during the conversation.
  • Ask questions to confirm your identity (such as birth date)
  • Provide helpful information and supplies to support you in isolation.
  • Offer encouragement and attempt to connect you with our Case Investigation Team to complete the assessment process, identify potential contacts and reach out to them as soon as possible.

We will NEVER:
  • Ask to enter your home
  • Ask for your Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Ask about health insurance information
  • Ask about your immigration status

For Businesses/Organizations

We all need to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19. Some business and organizations have opted to complete contact tracing for their staff, for whom they are also providing testing.

Give to your staff:


How does contact tracing/community tracing align with State efforts?

Tracing the contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases integrates with state efforts to:
  1. Identify confirmed COVID-19 cases and connect any contacts who have been exposed to testing.
  2. Connect with confirmed COVID-19 cases to link them to resources and information through their illness and isolation.
  3. Stop spread of virus by reaching contacts at risk of contracting the virus
Physical distancing is one effective way to slow the spread of the virus. With contact tracing in place, we can reduce additional exposures by encouraging testing, supporting isolation and physical distancing. Many people who have COVID-19 do not show any symptoms and do not know they may be spreading the virus. If you get a call from a PCHD Contact Tracer, answering is an important way to keep your family and friends safe. By sharing information and following recommendations to protect each other, we can slow the spread of COVID-19. We are all in this together.

The local context

Many facilities in Pima County participated in the COVID-19 “testing blitz” sponsored by the Arizona Department of Health Services throughout the month of May 2020. As more testing is done, there will be more confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our community. While confirmed case numbers going up is not inherently good, it means we know where the virus is, who has it, and we can reach out to people who were potentially exposed before they can spread it.

All data can be found on the ADHS website.

Who Is Part of the PCHD COVID-19 Contact Tracing Team?

PCHD has activated staff and volunteers (including retired staff and members of the Southern Arizona Medical Reserve Corps) to identify and contact confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and people who have been exposed to the virus. Originally a team of 5 people, the infectious disease contact tracing team has been expanded to over 25 people since March 1, 2020.

How Will We Measure Success of Contact Tracing Efforts?

There are several ways to measure the success of contact tracing. These include:
  • Counting the number of contacts reached, provided with resources, and linked to COVID-19 testing in a timely manner.
  • Seeing a reduction in case transmission as an overall effect of a coordinated public health response.
The material on this page is copyright to the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. It may be used in whole or in part by public entities with attribution to the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Private parties may not use or reproduce this material without prior written permission of the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative © 2020 Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative.
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