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President Trump's COVID-19 Diagnosis Highlights Push for Contact Tracing

The spread of the coronavirus among those in the White House showcases how important local public health departments are

Can you remember who you were close to yesterday? What about a couple of days ago?

It might be hard to remember exactly who you were with and for how long.

But, that’s what contact tracers want you to think about when they call you - if you have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Some people are not good historians, unfortunately,” said Anna Pannarale, case investigation contact tracing manager for DuPage County. “But, we just try to jog their memory. We ask specifics.”

Contact tracing is well into effect at the White House after President Trump and First Lady Melania Trump tested positive for the coronavirus.

This is a very public display of how quickly COVID-19 can spread.

“A few simple steps, hand sanitizing, wearing a mask and physical distancing could prevent all of that,” said Dr. Kiran Joshi, senior medical officer & co-lead at the Cook County Department of Public Health.

If you receive a call from a contact tracer, its vital to be honest when sharing information about where you’ve been and who you have had contact with.

“We look at those location to try and figure out if it’s a place they may have picked up the virus or where they may have transmitted the virus,” Pannarale added.

The Departments of Public Health says you should be as honest as you would be with your own doctor.

“You want to be...as truthful to a contact tracer so they can then go about doing their business, identifying potential contacts and reaching out to them,” said Dr. Joshi.

The main reason behind all of this, if you’ve been around someone with the virus, you will need to quarantine.

“That it’s important for them to quarantine for 14 days since they were last exposed,” added Dr. Joshi. “That prevents any inadvertent exposures that those folks may continue to transmit.”

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