COVID-19 and contact tracing go hand-in-hand. Doctors said because it's such an infectious disease and spreads so easily, contact tracing become important. Now the staff at Boca VIPediatrics is joining the cause to help the community.
Dr. Paul Gilbert and Dr. Chad Rudnick are pediatricians by profession, now expanding their skill sets to contact tracing.
"A combination of some new age technologies and a lot of old-fashioned kind of investigative type work," said Rudnick, who is now part of the process to identify people and places that may have been exposed to the coronavirus. "Contact tracing is something that's been around for decades in order to help to limit the spread of certain infectious diseases like tuberculosis or HIV or even when there was the Ebola outbreak from West Africa several years ago."
Rudnick said the work is now more important than ever, so he got his staff certified contact tracers by Johns Hopkins University.
"If we can limit the spread of just one person going out into the community, that helps to break the chain of infections," he said. "It's something we kind of understand a little bit of already, being physicians," he said. "But this takes it one step further to make sure there are no missteps in contact tracing."
Contact tracers said a significant part of this process is a deep dive look at social media accounts.
"We ask them to use their phones for memory, because initially when you find out that someone you were around has COVID-19, there is this first instinct of a little bit of panic, and people get nervous," Rudnick said. "They have symptoms right now. What should they do? Sometimes (they) forget where they have been."
The certificate also gives them the ability to work closely with schools in the fall.
"If there is a case in a classroom or in a school, we are able to know which students and teachers need to be quarantined,"he said.
Gilbert is now reminding everyone the end goal is to keep everyone safe.
"Some individuals are holding back on when they got sick, who they may have been around, and it's just important to know that information, it's private, it's confidential," Gilbert said.