What is the Community Tracing Collaborative?
What is contact tracing and how can it stop coronavirus?
The Community Tracing Collaborative was recently launched by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to protect our communities and slow the spread of the coronavirus.
Through this program, more than 1,600 callers have been hired to reach out to confirmed positive COVID-19 patients and their close contacts. The effort has already reached more than 25,000 confirmed cases and their contacts. This includes patients’ friends, colleagues and family members to help protect others who have been potentially exposed.
Who is part of this effort?
The state Department of Public Health and local boards of health have teamed up with Partners In Health, a highly trusted and respected organization that has done work to help stop previous outbreaks across the globe. Together they created the Community Tracing Collaborative in Massachusetts.
Known as the MA COVID Team, this support center of 1,600 people consists of multilingual community members and leaders working tirelessly to stop the spread of the virus.
How can you help?
Your participation in contact tracing will not only help connect you to medical support and resources, answering the call will also keep your loved ones and community safe. Words spread faster than the virus. Please answer the call to stop the spread of COVID-19 In our communities.
How will you know when you are receiving the call?
Your phone will receive a call and display “MA COVID Team” on the screen, or the call will come from your local board of health. All phone calls will use the area code 833 or 857 and calls will be made daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please answer. The greatest act of love is answering the call.
What happens during an MA COVID Team call?
If you have tested positive for coronavirus, a MA COVID Team member will call and ask you for a list of all of the people you were within six feet of during the two days before you had symptoms or received your diagnosis. The MA COVID Team will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone you identify, so they can be called and cared for.
If you feel comfortable, the MA COVID Team will encourage you to give your contacts a heads-up that they will be calling. The COVID team will then call your contacts and let them know that they have been potentially exposed so they can get tested.
The power is in your hands. Answer the call to help trace and contain the spread of the virus.
How will the MA COVID Team provide assistance to those who are infected?
If you have tested positive and are staying at home during the isolation period, the MA COVID Team member can help connect you with a care resource coordinator who will help you get the support you need. Throughout your illness, a MA COVID Team member or your local board of health will check in to monitor your symptoms and needs.
How will my identity be protected?
The state will not release your name to anyone publicly or privately. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as a private medical record. Your information will also not be shared with other agencies or immigration officials. Beware of scammers: The MA COVID Team will never ask you for your Social Security number or insurance information.
Why does your participation matter?
Under Governor Baker’s leadership, Massachusetts is proud to be the first state in the nation to initiate contact tracing, and your participation is critical to our shared success. Contact tracing is your way to impact the lives of many in our state and beyond and help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Through contact tracing, the Commonwealth will be able to better arrange testing, as well as medical and quarantine support for you and your loved ones.
What if I don’t have any symptoms? Should I still participate?
Many people who have COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms and don’t realize that they may be spreading the virus. So, if you get a call, keep your family and friends safe by answering the call. We are all in this together and by sharing information through the Community Tracing Collaborative, we can spread the word to stop the virus.
With contact tracing in place, we can track the spread and reduce additional exposure to others by encouraging testing and supporting quarantine and social distancing.
How will the state measure success of the program?
There are multiple ways the program will measure success:
First, measuring the number of contacts reached in a timely fashion and followed through their quarantine. Second, being sure those who have been in contact with a COVID-19 patient can access testing. Third, seeing a reduction in case transmission as an overall effect of a coordinated public health response.
What else is the state doing to protect our communities?
Governor Baker recently announced a major increase in testing capacity and is working to expand bed capacity, personal protective equipment and ventilators available to health care organizations.
The state is also helping COVID-positive homeless individuals and family members who aren’t in housing that makes it possible for them to isolate and receive food.
The Community Tracing Collaborative adds to these efforts to ensure safe, high-quality care and increased testing to maximize the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19. Remember: The power is in your hands.
Answer the call from the MA COVID Team and help stop the spread of coronavirus today.