More than 1,300 contact tracers ready assist Washington health departments

More than 1,300 people in Washington state have been trained and are ready to work with local health departments to do contact tracing once a case of the coronavirus has been confirmed in a county.

Governor Jay Inslee says of those already trained, 350 are from the National Guard, 390 are from the Department of Licensing, and 630 are state or local health professionals. Inslee says while the social distancing efforts that have been in place since March have been frustrating, they have been “significantly effective.”

The governor says as the state attempts to transition to open back up the economy, officials are simultaneously moving to the second initiative of testing, contact tracing, and isolation.

More than 17,300 people in Washington state have tested positive for the virus and at least 962 have died.

Officials hope to continue to contain the spread by first having people who think they have symptoms to quarantine themselves and seek testing. The goal is to contact those who test positive within 24 hours of testing and to track down those the people came in contact with within 48 hours.

Inslee says the testing data will only be accessible to health professionals, and those contacted about a potential exposure will not be given the identity of the person who has tested positive. (AP)

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