BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Contact tracers in Louisiana are expanding their efforts to serve people who have contracted COVID-19 or may have been exposed to the virus.
The head of Louisiana’s contact tracing program says it’s important to provide more resources as cases continue to spread across the state.
Governor John Bel Edwards announced Tuesday, July 28 that Louisiana was ranked number one in the U.S. for per capita in cases.
“Contact tracing has been a tool, it’s not something new. Contact tracing was used to kind of help get rid of tuberculous and get it under control. Here in Louisiana, it was used for smallpox and for some other outbreaks. So, I think there is a successful track rate with contact tracing,” says Brant Mitchell who is the director of the Stephenson Disaster Management Institute, the organization that has been tasked with conducting contact tracing for the state.
Mitchell says residents can be assured any personal information and data collected is secure.
“We’re constantly working out ways to influence and be able to leverage the resources that we have so we can a make a difference. So, one of the things is that we are texting now. So, people should get a text before they get contacted by a contact tracer to kind of give them the awareness that someone is going to be reaching out them,” Mitchell says.
Timothy Pease, a software engineer who is working as a contact tracer, says contract tracers are doing more than notifying people of infections or exposures. He says they’re also working to give people information on access to food, housing, and healthcare.
“I feel the advantages of this program are far less about keeping track of who has COVID and more about informing the public on how they should be thinking and approaching if they do have it,” says Timothy Peanc who works as a contact tracer and a software engineer.
About 700 agents are currently working in the state’s contact tracing program in four call centers across the state.
The call centers are located in Lafayette, Monroe, and New Orleans.
Mitchell says contact tracers will only call you from the following number: 877-766-2130.
He also says you can call the number if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19.
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