COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Health Officials Say Contact Tracing Continues To Be A Challenge

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – As more cases are reported across the state, finding out where the coronavirus is being spread is a top priority.

“Only about 25 percent, about 8,332, of newly reported cases were successfully contacted by an investigator,” said Michael Huff, the state’s director of testing and contact tracing.


In total, the state has completed 5.5 million tests. But as that number rises, there are more roadblocks with fewer people answering the call from investigators.


“Clearly public trust is part of it. Providing information to someone you really don’t know. Plus, giving information that in some way may negatively impact the business,” Huff said.


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Huff told KDKA that contact tracing is becoming more vital. The state is now pivoting to prioritizing cases caught within the last six days and match certain criteria.


“Household contacts and people living, working, and visiting congregate care living care facilities. Plus, high-density workplaces or events with potential extensive transmission,” Huff said.


The state continues to distribute tests to counties with a positivity rate of 10 percent or higher, which continues to climb each day. But there is not a shortage of tests right now.


“In addition to those tests, Pennsylvania has a robust network of about 550 contracted sites across the Commonwealth that can also provide tests. Most of these, if not all, are PCR tests,” Huff said.


The state continues to encourage Pennsylvanians to download the COVID-19 Alert app. The app allows you to complete the contact tracing process from the palm of your hand. To date, 560,000 people have downloaded it.