Arkansas expands contact tracing capabilities

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FILE – In this May 12, 2020 file photo, amid concerns of the spread of COVID-19, Ronaldo Santos has his temperature checked before starting his work shift in the meat department of a grocery store in Dallas. With more businesses across the country easing back to life, the new challenge will be how to keep workers safe during the pandemic. From temperature checks, contact tracing, social distancing and staggered schedules, a variety of new protocols are being implemented. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — As COVID-19 testing expands so is the natural state’s ability to keep track of our positive cases.

Of the 455 new positive COVID-19 cases reported in Arkansas yesterday, 224 were community cases.

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith and his team have already traced 137 or 61% of those cases.

Here’s how it works. When a new positive COVID-19 case is identified that person is interviewed by a nurse who tells the patient to isolate.

A contact tracer follows up with the patient and asks them about any interaction they’ve had with others.

The contact tracer then calls anyone who may have had contact with the patient and urges them to quarantine and be tested if they have symptoms.

Their information is then added into the state’s SARA alert system which keeps an eye on anyone who may have been exposed to COVID-19.

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