Dept. of Health announces new coronavirus contact tracing program in partnership with Microsoft

Officials announced Tuesday a new coronavirus contact tracing program that will be created in partnership with Microsoft.

News 12 Staff

Apr 28, 2020, 6:20 PM

Updated 1,543 days ago

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Officials announced Tuesday a new coronavirus contact tracing program that will be created in partnership with Microsoft.
They say they hope contact tracing will prevent clusters from turning into more widespread transmission. Officials say the state will be reaching out through text messages, phone or email to confirmed or recovered COVID-19 patients and will ask them if they've come in contact with anyone who might have been exposed.
The state can then reach out to those contacts and get them tested, or help them isolate themselves.
Gov. Ned Lamont says it's not mandatory, but the more residents who pitch in, the smoother the state's recovery will be.
The state reported 315 new cases of coronavirus out of 1,999 people tested. Lamont says that the amount of positive tests is the lowest number it has been in weeks.
He also says that 77 more people have died due to COVID-19, but the number of hospitalizations is down by 26.
Officials say the contact tracing system is currently in its early implementation, and hope to implement it by the third week of May.
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BRIEFING NOTES:
- There are 26,312 cases of coronavirus in the state, with an increase of 315 new cases since Monday. Lamont says that this is the lowest increase in weeks.
- There have been 2,089 virus-related deaths, with an increase of 77 new deaths since Monday.
- 1,732 people are hospitalized for coronavirus. This number has decreased by 26 since Monday.
- 92,745 coronavirus tests have been conducted, with an increase of 1,999 new tests since Monday.
- Lamont says the hospitals in the state are at two-thirds capacity.
- Officials say the state has an over 20% unemployment rate.
- The Department of Health is teaming up with Microsoft to create ContaCT, a contact tracing program that is meant to put in place control measures to stop exposures from happening.
- Officials say without contact tracing, individuals may spread COVID-19 unknowingly.
- ContaCT will build off of local efforts to coordinate and scale contact tracing across the state. Officials say that local health departments and the Dept. of Health will continue to receive information on COVID-19 positive people.
- They say that each case will be contacted by a public health professional, and that cases will fill out a questionnaire listing all contacts, who will then be contacted in turn through ContaCT.
- Officials say all contact tracers will be trained to provide support to cases and contacts and securely handle the data.
- The program will be implemented by the third week of May.
- Officials say there are 300 tracers in the Department of Health, and an additional 400 to 500 will be hired as volunteers to help.
MORE COVERAGE: LIVE BLOG - Coronavirus updates from the tri-state area and beyond 
PHOTOS: Countries around the world cope with COVID-19
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