ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Gov. Larry Hogan said he wants to quadruple the number of workers in the state doing contact tracing for patients who test positive for the coronavirus.

Contact tracing involves a worker re-tracing the steps of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and warning those with whom the patient may have had contact that they may have been exposed.

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The moment someone tests positive, a disease investigator will go back in time, contacting people who may have had contact with them at the grocery store, pharmacy, the bank or even at home.

Health workers are using phone calls and even social media to track those who have tested positive.


“We call that person on the phone and we ask them about all the people they have been in contact with up to two days prior to their symptoms and if they were within six feet and speaking to them longer than five minutes,” said Dr. Gregory W.m. Branch, Baltimore County’s health officer. “They give us those names and then we call those people on the phone and we ask those people to self-quarantine.”

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In Baltimore County, the number of workers doing contact tracing has gone from 6 to 60 in just weeks.

“I would hope that your viewers would understand in the event they get a call from us, please take our call,” he added.

Experts say contact tracing can stop the disease from spreading rapidly through early identification and warning.

“With contact tracing, we could potentially stop the COVID virus right in its tracks,” Branch said.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Ava-joye Burnett