BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB)– Erie County continues to look at what they can do to meet reopening guidelines, and one of those ways is by ramping up contact tracing.
Erie County Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Gale Burstein says the county will have about 270 contact tracers.
Every day those contact tracers will get a list of people that tested positive for covid 19, they will then reach out to anyone who was in close contact with that positive case, either by phone or last resort will be by mail.
The Definition of a close contact includes someone who spent least 15 minutes with an infected person within 6 feet of them and without a mask.
Burstein says the exposure period is 2 days before that person first showed symptoms or 2 days before that person tested positive if they are asymptomatic.
As the county looks to reopen, Burstein says the county is preparing for more cases and a bigger need for contact tracers.
“That would end up resulting in an increased burden on our contact tracers again we need to expand that body of contact tracers, to make sure we conduct the appropriate disease investigation and contact notification. So social distancing is really the key to this,” Burstein said.
The county won’t be tracing anyone who tested positive for an antibody test, this only applies to people who test positive after taking a diagnostic test because those people are still infected with the disease.
The county is encouraging people to get tested if they were in close contact with someone who tested positive whether they are showing symptoms or not.
Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.