VENTURA, Calif. - Ventura County has beefed up its Contact Tracing efforts to help slow down the spread of the coronavirus.
Contact Tracing is not a new effort for Ventura County. The health department has been doing it since the virus broke out, but now public health is expanding its efforts in a major way. Ventura County Public Health is in the process of training 60 new contract tracers. That’s triple the number from just a month ago.
“I believe one public health nurse will be with 10 contact tracers,” said Hannah Edmondson, who is the Senior Registered Public Health Nurse at Ventura County. “They will work together as a team to make sure that each positive COVID-19 case in Ventura County has the contact tracing staff to work with them.
Every time there is a positive COVID-19 lab test, it’s reported directly to the Ventura County Public Health Department.
“The public health nurse will interview each positive lab confirmed case,” said Edmondson. “During that interview we will find out who lives in the house, we will find out if they are working, and ask them if they have been out in public.”
The Contact Tracers will then get in contact with anyone who may have been exposed to that person, and ask them to monitor themselves, checking their temperature twice a day. Contact investigators reach out in several ways, including calling and making home visits.
“If it is someone that is refusing, we will definitely consult with our health officer to look into the next step,” said Chris Ornelas, who is a Contact Tracing Nurse in Ventura County.
The person who originally tested positive stays in isolation for 14 days. Ventura County will provide a free hotel room and meals if patients can't easily isolate.
“If they are not able to isolate themselves in the home, or if we determine that there might be a high risk family member in the house, we have a special housing program that we can offer them,” said Edmondson.