Health board asks people to monitor own contacts, expect calls

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Smart phone. Source: (Photo: ERR)

Coronavirus detectives will be calling people who test positive and their close contacts, the Health Board has said, and people should expect their calls and monitor their own contacts.

Head of emergency unit at the Health Board Ragnar Vaiknemets said people need to be aware of where they go and who they come in to contact with.

People often only start thinking about where and when they may have come into contact with the virus when they receive a phone call from the Health Board, he said.

"For example, we ask an individual where they may have caught the virus, and from whom. In addition to the name and date of birth of any potential source of infection, it is also very important to know whether or not a COVID-19 diagnosis has been confirmed by a diagnostic laboratory test for the presumed source of the infection," said Vaiknemets. "We also need to know who the infected individual may have passed the virus on to, and which places they have visited when they may have been infectious."

As the Health Board inspector will also ask about any symptoms which the interviewee may have developed, it is useful when people are able to specify when they first developed any symptoms.

From the perspective of the spread of the virus, it is also important to find out where the individual works or studies, and with whom they have had potentially infectious contact.

"If you have received a positive coronavirus test result, it would be a good idea to browse in advance through the questions on the epidemiological interview which is available via the Health Board's website," said Vaiknemets, stating that a trained inspector is able to make nine phone calls to infected individuals each day, while an untrained individual who is assisting the Health Board can make six phone calls.

In the case of calls to close contacts, the respective figures are 70 and 45.

"It is essential from the perspective of preventing the spread of the virus that both infected individuals, as well as any close contacts, think in advance about their responses to the most important questions which we need to ask so that we can properly conduct an epidemiological investigation."

As of November 24, the Health Board is monitoring almost 26,000 people, of whom almost 3,500 have fallen ill.

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Editor: Helen Wright

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