How exposure notifications, contact tracing can lower COVID-19 cases and deaths

Problem Solvers

DENVER (KDVR) — Public health officials tell the FOX31 Problem Solvers the effectiveness of new tools used to track the spread of COVID-19 can depend on how many people use them.

The Exposure Notification app anonymously alerts users of recent close contact with someone who has tested positive. The app trades what are called tokens between phones through a Bluetooth connection. Public health officials provide users who test positive with a code that tells the app to notify others. No information is used that identifies the user’s name or address. 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment tells the Problem Solvers that as of last week, more than 1 million state residents have opted in for tracking and notifications since the program launched on Oct. 25. 

The CDPHE says if just 15% percent of the population adopts Exposure Notification systems, COVID-19 infection rates could decrease by 8% and deaths by 6%.

In another effort to control the spread of disease, contract tracers reach out those diagnosed with COVID-19.   

Katie O’Donnell of the Larimer County Department of Public Health and Environment tells the Problem Solvers reaching out during a brief time frame is the key to effective prevention.

“They can be out exposing people 48 hours before they have symptoms, so our job is to go back and see who they were around,” she said.  

O’Donnell emphasizes that information is kept secure, explaining, “It goes into a secure system. We ‘re never sharing that information.”

Larimer County posted open contact tracing job positions.

Check your local county’s job listings for additional information.

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