Coronavirus: San Francisco lays out plan to do the most comprehensive contact tracing in the country

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The City of San Francisco announced Wednesday a comprehensive contact tracing project that is the first of its kind in the country -- and it's a critical tool in the reopening of the economy.

For those hearing the term "contact tracing" for the first time, it is simply the ability of public health officials to track down everyone that a COVID-19 positive patient came into contact with.

You can imagine that as the number of cases have grown, this task becomes more complicated.

In partnership with UCSF and technology company, Dimagi, Mayor London Breed announced a program that intends to train thousands in the Bay Area to do the extensive investigations, which include interviews and regular communication with those who have come into contact with COVID-19 patients.

To date, 50 people have been trained and in two weeks, the city plans to have 150 people trained from government workers to librarians to medical students.

Dr. Grant Colfax, the city's public health director, emphasized that the investigations will be voluntary and it will not question anyone's immigration status.
"If people see the value of this work, it will be successful," he said.

The mayor said the the success of the contact tracing project will be a crucial tool that will help lead the city back to normalcy. But, she warned residents that city must move slowly.

The plan is to scale up the program to thousands of investigators, working across the region.

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