COVID-19 testing info offered by county; state announces contact tracing plan

La Porte County has a new site for COVID-19 testing information, officials have announced:

https://isdh.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=fa61af71d4474e62b2408647d1624817

Sheila Matias, county commission president, praised the efforts of Darlene Hale, La Porte County  IT director and Jenny (no last name given), La Porte County Health Department nurse, who have been “collaborating on COVID-19 data to ensure accuracy and transparency with our information. Our web site is updated often during each day and on weekends so consider checking if interested at www.laporteco.in.gov and click on the Covid Information scrolling ribbon,” Matias said. 

In related news, Governor Eric Holcomb announced the state is working to centralize contact tracing and investigations for Hoosiers who test positive for COVID-19. This effort will be in partnership with Optum, which was recently named to assist the state in significantly expanding  testing across the state. This, Holcomb said, is an essential component of efforts to safely reopen Indiana.

“As we fight the spread of COVID-19, we need the ability to rapidly contact positive patients and their close contacts to determine who else might have been exposed,” Holcomb said. “Centralizing this work will allow us to quickly identify individuals who need to be quarantined, reduce the risk of additional infections and take actions to ensure our schools, workplaces and public settings are safe.”

Contact tracing involves identifying individuals who have tested positive for an illness and asking questions about who they were in contact with during their infectious period, then notifying those close contacts of their exposure. Historically, local health departments have led this function, with assistance from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) when requested.

“Our local health departments have been doing an incredible job with contact tracing for COVID-19, but we know that as the number of cases increases, the strain on local resources will be significant,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “This centralized approach will free up local health departments to connect people with supportive services in their communities, help with large outbreaks in congregate settings and continue to provide other essential public health services, such as immunizations.”

Plans call for hiring at least 500 employees, who will be trained in contact tracing and investigations by ISDH subject matter experts. The call center is expected to be operational around May 11.

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