Here is when a coronavirus contact tracer calls


“Do you have any idea why the health department is calling you?” Kelly Donnelly asks residents of Lake County every week.

The contact tracer / case investigator explained, “About 80% of the time the response is,” Yes, I have tested positive for COVID.

And this is the beginning of a trail that trails back to Mexico, Denver and the suburbs to move to the suburbs in an effort to save lives and neep virus infections in the bud.

Contact tracing is not about fingers, instructors at the Lake County Health Department told the Daily Herald in an interview.

“We are not here to scold you – it has already happened,” said Alejandro Pies, the contact tracer / case investigator. Instead, “Let’s find a solution.”

Donley recalled a woman developing COVID-19 after meeting a friend in Mexico and did not quarantine upon her return. The friend was later diagnosed with the virus.

Dole said, “After talking, we were able to quickly go to her employer and release them.” “We contacted all his close contacts and quarantined them. Thus far we have been able to stop that spread.”

The state of Illinois has allocated more than $ 200 million to local health departments for COVID-19 testing ramps as statewide cases exceed 240,000.

Part detective, part life coach, helps identify trainers who are likely to have been infected by a COVID-19 patient and give bad news. Interaction testing can range from symptoms to explaining COVID-19 to connecting someone to housing assistance.

Paiz, who works on the phone in Spanish and English, said that learning, you may have contracted COVID-19 “is very scary for some people.”

She stays in close contact with her clients and receives occasional callbacks from overwhelmed families.

They would say, “I didn’t really need that grocery delivery (before). Now, I do,” Paz said.

Sean Collins, the head of the team investigating the case, said some customers were followed by learning.

“The first thing that comes out of their mouth is: ‘Who was it?’

Collins said. “They will try and guess, but we cannot confirm or deny it,” as all patient information is private.

A 30-year Department of Health employee, Collins has worked through the AIDS epidemic, Ebola and the H1N1 virus and now COVID-19.

“It’s a difficult disease to catch AIDS,” Collins said, unlike Collins-19, which spreads through drops, usually when someone sneezes or coughs. “People are beginning to understand the seriousness of this, but many think it is not a serious matter.”

‘this is not real’

Collins’ first COVID-19 phone call went to a man who tested positive and was “very political,” telling her, “It’s not real.” We went back and forth, ”Collins recalled. “Part of it was simply giving him vents. You can’t take it personally. You have to try to build a rapport.”

Many infected individuals believe that their illness was caused by a stranger. The argument is that “if I’m around a close family member – they won’t have it.” But more than likely, that’s where it came from, “Collins said.

Families have faith in each other, Pies said, but sadly, “just getting together to see Dad on Dad’s birthday” without a face mask can spread the disease.

In one case Donelle took over a teacher who had a relationship with his girlfriend in Wyoming. He thought his transition originated from staying in a hotel in Denver en route to Illinois.

He further investigated and had the teacher have dinner in Denver with two old friends.

For Donley, this was a “clear” clue. “Eating dinner, not wearing a mask, sitting across from each other.” It turned out to friends who are brothers, they had COVID-19.

On the other hand, sometimes “you can do everything right and transmission is still possible,” Collins said.

Donley, a woman, contacted “started hyperventilating on the phone” after hearing that she might be infected. “Let’s not borrow trouble,” Donley advised. “Let’s talk about where you go to test.”

The health condition of the father of the woman’s boyfriend is critical and “she knows – if she spread COVID-19 to him – she could be very ill.”

It was discovered that the woman did not have the virus, but she was still isolated for 14 days – a positive example of a seal on the potential spread, Donley said.

‘Truth will be revealed’

Do the residents prevail? “Many times I think people are telling me what I want to hear,” Donley said, “but there are ways to keep the conversation going … 80 to 90% of the time, the truth will come out.”

There is no specific COVID-19 patient.

“I have a pilot who was there to call me and contact the airlines,” Collins said.

Recently, instructors have been handling a number of child-related matters, including day care, public school – and college students who tested positive when they returned home.

For some people there is an element of mistrust. When investigating youth-related outbreaks, Collins has been told that the athletes’ muscle aches were “just part of the work.”

“Well… maybe,” Collins noted, “but if they’re around someone who was positive, (soreness) may not have anything to do with working. It’s best to be tested.” . “

Tracer recommends logistics to keep himself safe for household members. “Some families call you six-bedroom and seven-bath, (but) a lot of people have a large family and a two-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment,” Donley said.

The Department of Health can connect families who need the assistance of caseworkers.

The outreach responses of the trainers drive the gamut.

Collins “never swore to me,” but was hanged for some time. Those opportunities included younger COVID-19 patients.

“The thing that shocked me the most is that,” Donley said, after getting through this intimate conversation – in the end most (clients) say ‘Thank you,’ and have sympathy for the health department. “

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