Contact tracing left to cities will have a ‘different look’ | News

Andover received a state grant to hire an epidemiologist and two contact tracers who will maintain contact tracing efforts in Andover and partner cities – North Andover, Wilmington, Lynnfield and North Reading.

“Contact tracing, the way we’ve come to understand it, is changing because not everyone who tests positive will get a call,” said Thomas Carbone, Andover’s director of public health.

Last week, the state dissolved its Community Tracing Collaborative and transferred contact tracing to local health departments.

“We’re going to put the resources we have where we see uncontrolled transmission, like in a business or in schools,” Carbone explained.

Typically, local health units get positive test results with a slight delay of about four to five days, Carbone said, and now, two years after the start of the pandemic, many people have already gotten used to it. notify their friends and other close contacts of their positive status beforehand. state officials are getting involved, he said.

Between November 25 and December 1, 98 new cases were reported in the city, up from 74 the week before. The majority, 54, have been vaccinated.

“That November was reflected last year in the number of cases. A year later and after the vaccines, we see the cases but we don’t see the deaths,” Carbone said.

He noted that the number of hospitalizations is about the same and that most of the people hospitalized are not vaccinated, he said.

According to city data, many of the cases – 35 – were in children under the age of 20 who were mostly unvaccinated. Carbone urged parents to discuss with their child’s pediatrician the possibility of having their child vaccinated, especially since anyone 5 years of age and over can now have their child vaccinated.

Carbone also encouraged boosters for all people six months after the vaccine who received Moderna or Pfizer or two months if they took the Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

“There are appointments on Vaxfinder. Some (locations) book until January, which isn’t bad, but sign up when you can, ”Carbone said.

He also recommended that people buy quick-to-pass tests, which can be purchased online if people can’t find them at drugstores.

“They will be our new best friends, especially when it comes to gatherings,” he said.

As cases increase, he recommends using whatever preventative measures – vaccines, masks and tests – they can.

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