Since the first cases of the coronavirus emerged in Kent County in late March, the Health Department has worked to improve their testing for the virus and antibodies to gain more information and minimize the spread of the potentially deadly disease.
Contact tracing is an efficient way to slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. To aid with this, the Kent County Health Department is organized as a secondary responder — meaning that the notification of a positive case of COVID-19 goes to a call center, which then reaches out to the patient.
“If anything comes up on caller ID as “MDH COVID” or similar, we encourage everybody to please answer their phones and take that call,” said Kent Health Officer William Webb.
If you do not have caller ID, also look for the Maryland health department’s phone number: (240)-466-4488.
Webb mentioned that many people will not answer the call from an unknown number, but that reaching people this way is very important for the contact tracing process.
The next step is to ask the patient a number of questions in an interview, including their symptoms, if they are able to isolate at home, or if they need any assistance from the department.
The interview is extensive, according to Webb. The positive patient is asked if they need any supplies or help from the Health Department or social services, and they are also asked for a list of contacts they’ve been in close personal contact within 48 hours of getting tested.
The health department wants to know of anyone who has been in close personal contact with someone 48 hours before they tested positive. If you are one of these people, you will most likely get a call from the Kent County Health Department call center to provide information about what the next steps are — self-quarantining, testing, etc. The original patient’s identification will not be shared.
If you get a call, “It is entirely possible that you have been identified as a contact of someone who has tested positive and that we want to ask you some questions and see if you need to get tested or be quarantined,” said Webb.
If you or someone you know is feeling symptoms of COVID-19, or have been in close contact with a patient who tested positive, contact the Kent County Health Department to schedule a testing appointment at 410 – 778 -1350.