HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Wolf administration presented an update Tuesday on the commonwealth’s COVID-19 testing and contact tracing efforts, emphasizing the need to prioritize case investigations and for those who test positive to participate in contact tracing.
To date, the state has been conducting both PCR and antigen tests totaling 5,498,223 tests in Pennsylvania, which equates to nearly half the state’s population.
“The increase in testing demonstrates the increased need for case investigation and contact tracing – two key public health activities that occur when a case of COVID-19 is identified,” said Michael Huff, Director of Testing and Contact Tracing for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. “Given the continued increase in both the number of positive cases and the positivity percentage rate, which stood at 11 percent for the week of Nov. 13 – Nov. 19, the recommendations for prioritization of COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing have been enhanced.”
Huff outlined key case investigation from the CDC including:
- Prioritize case investigation interviews for people diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past six days
- Prioritize contact tracing efforts on household contacts exposed in past six days, and people living, working, or visiting congregate living facilities, high-density workplaces or other settings with potential extensive transmission,
- As resources allow, expand case investigation and contact tracing to people outside the household who are at increased risk for serious illness, are part of a cluster or were exposed within the past six days,
- If more than 14 days have elapsed since the specimen was collected, case investigation should generally not be pursued.
As cases of COVID-19 are at record levels, Governor Tom Wolf and Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine announced Monday, new mitigation efforts to help stop the spread of COVIC-19 at this critical time.
Huff reiterated the importance of the mitigation efforts, “As Governor Wolf, Secretary Levine, I and others have said in the past, the COVID-19 situation is fluid, and guidance continues to change over time, even after plans are prepared and adopted. One thing has not changed – citizens of Pennsylvania have individual responsibility to contribute to proper behavior and to adhere to public health guidance to protect themselves and others as well as to help control the spread of COVID-19.