Local county is still tracking COVID-19 infections with contact tracing

GWINNETT COUNTY, Ga. — Gwinnett County is still tracking COVID-19 infections through contact tracing.

Kim Anthony got COVID-19 in January, and a contact tracer called within a few days.

“I was happy to do it because I thought it would help,” Anthony said.

Anthony doesn’t think it makes much sense to get such a call months later.

“I put it behind me. To think about what my symptoms were. I guess if you’re contract tracing, and you’re trying to ask somebody who you were around four or five months ago, or three or two months, it’s hard to recall,” Anthony said.

The Gwinnett County Health Department stated it had to prioritize contract tracing calls during the busiest surge. The delayed surveillance is still important information in the fight against COVID-19.

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“We want to know were patients symptomatic? Were patients hospitalized?” said Alana Sulka, director of epidemiology and infectious disease for Gwinnett County Public Health.

Through contact tracing, researchers are also able to get valuable insights on demographics pertaining to race, ethnicity and gender.

Sulka said many people are cooperative even in cases where they can’t quite remember all of the specifics. The information gathered can help if there are future coronavirus outbreaks.

“We can look at ways we can educate different communities. What languages might be needed that we don’t currently have,” Sulka said.