FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Public Information Officer
Wickenburg Community Hospital
WICKENBURG, AZ (May 22, 2020) – In response to COVID-19, the Maricopa County Public Health Department and Wickenburg Community Hospital are both actively performing Contact Tracing for persons who are identified as positive for COVID-19 or are employees who have potentially been exposed to patients who are positive for COVID-19.
What is Contact Tracing? Contact Tracing is the process of identification of persons who may have come into contact with an infected person (“contacts”) and subsequent collection of further information about these contacts. By tracing the contacts of infected individuals, testing them for infection, treating the infected and tracing their contacts in turn, public health aims to reduce infections in the population. Diseases for which contact tracing is commonly performed for include tuberculosis, vaccine-preventable infections like measles, sexually transmitted infections (including HIV), blood-borne infections, some serious bacterial infections, and novel infections (e.g. SARS-CoV and SARS-CoV-2).
If contacts are not individually identifiable (e.g. members of the public who attended the same location), broader communications may be issued, like media or advisories. In cases of diseases of uncertain infectious potential, contact tracing is also sometimes performed to learn about disease characteristics, including infectiousness.
The goals of contact tracing are:
· To interrupt ongoing transmission and reduce the spread of an infection
· To alert contacts to the possibility of infection and offer preventive counseling or prophylactic care
· To offer diagnosis, counseling and treatment to already infected individuals
· If the infection is treatable, to help prevent reinfection of the originally infected patient
· To learn about the epidemiology of a disease in a particular population
The Hospital’s responsibilities for Employee Contact Tracing:
The Infection Preventionist works with the county health department by following up on patients who have reportable infectious diseases with the intent to interrupt transmission and reducing the spread of an infection.
The Infection Preventionist is responsible for monitoring the flow of the patient as they move through the facility. This is achieved by performing an in depth review of the patient chart, interviews with the patient and/or staff to assist in determining what staff/ departments were impacted (ie: which staff members were involved in the care of the patient, which staff were on duty or present in the department at the time the patient was present).
The goals of employee tracing assists in alerting contacts to the possibility of infection exposure, offer preventive counseling or prophylactic care (as appropriate) and provides additional health monitoring of staff for signs and symptoms of illness.
Karen Smith RN, NMCC, LSSGB
Manager, Infection Prevention and Employee Health
Wickenburg Community Hospital & Clinics
For more information please visit wickhosp.com/coronavirus-news/