DHEC Expands Contact Tracing to Support Enhanced COVID-19 Testing Efforts
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
May 11, 2020
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) today announced that it has identified more than 1,800 contact tracers to support the state’s ongoing COVID-19 response efforts.
“With increased testing there will be an increase in the number of positive cases reported,” said Dr. Linda Bell, South Carolina State Epidemiologist. “This means we will need to increase the extent of its contact tracing, and we are prepared to do so.”
Contact tracing isn't new to DHEC. During normal operations, we have approximately 20 contact tracers who perform this methodology to help limit the spread of diseases like tuberculosis and hepatitis. Our infectious disease experts investigate hundreds of disease outbreaks each year.
“As we enhance our testing efforts, DHEC set goal with our AccelerateSC partners of identifying 1,000 contact tracers by May 31,” Bell said. “I’m proud to announce that we’ve met that goal.”
As part of DHEC’s COVID-19 response efforts, the agency has increased its number of contact tracers from 20 to 400 staff members as of today. In addition, DHEC has retained another 1,400 contact tracers through contracts with two private staffing companies (Apple One and C-Trace), bringing the total number of available contact tracers to 1,800. Also, 667 members of the public have also expressed interest in becoming a contact tracer through our contact tracing webpage.
As people from across the state continue to ask what they can do to help stop the spread of COVID-19, public health officials encourage South Carolinians is to take advantage of our free testing clinics and continue to:
- Practicing social distancing
- Wearing a mask while out in public
- Avoiding touching frequently touched items
- Regularly washing your hands
- Monitoring for symptoms
If you have tested positive or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive, a member of DHEC’s contact testing team will be reaching out to you to make sure you have the information you need to know to help protect yourself and your community.
For more information about contact tracing, please visit scdhec.gov/covid-19-contact-tracing.