As it enters a new phase in its fight with the coronavirus (COVID-19), Ohio has partnered with Massachusetts-based Partners In Health to become one of the nation's first state's to launch large scale contact tracing.
Enlisting in the help of Dr. Paul Farmer of PIH, Ohio Governor Mike DeWine explained how the voluntary process will work during his daily press briefing on Friday.
As Dr. Farmer explained, those who develop coronavirus symptoms are asked to contact their healthcare provider and ask what to do. The healthcare provider may ask you do to testing. The individual should isolate, wear a mask and separate from family, isolating until it's been at least 7 days from symptoms and no fever or symptoms for 72 hours.
If the test shows you are positive, the healthcare worker will reach out to find out who the individual was in contact with 48 hours before becoming sick. Any person who was in contact with the individual during that time could be at risk for having coronavirus.
Any close contacts will then be asked to quarantine for 14 days and take their temperature twice a day. If that individual begins to show symptoms, he or she should then contact their healthcare provider and follow the same process.
As for what would qualify as a close contact, Farmer said that if you went to the grocery store during that time period and passed by someone and didn't get near anyone, that wouldn't be considered a close contact. Conversely, if you had dinner with someone, that would qualify as close contact.
While the entire process is voluntary, DeWine said the response has been "outstanding." He also warned that contact tracing is not a replacement for preemptive measures such as washing your hands and physical distancing.
As of Friday, Ohio has had 15,169 positive coronavirus cases, including 3,053 hospitalizations, 920 ICU admissions and 690 deaths. Dating back to the discovery of Ohio's first positive coronavirus case on March 9, DeWine has put a number of measures in place to encourage physical distancing, including a stay-at-home order since March 23.
Last week, DeWine announced that the state is preparing to begin the process of reopening its economy when the current stay-at-home order expires on May 1.