SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Health leaders are watching and trying to be hopefully optimistic as we’re coming off a busy holiday weekend.
The first week of April, Chatham County stands at more than 50 percent fewer cases than this time last month. That’s not just in Chatham County, numbers are also down statewide.
Health officials hope to keep numbers on that trend, in order to do that, they need to continue contact tracing. This job plays a vital role in cracking COVID clusters to stop the virus spread.
Contact tracing is a quiet, behind the scenes, but important job at the Coastal Health District. Over the past year, Coastal Health District’s contact tracing team has adjusted but continues to do their job until the virus is minimized.
They make calls to those impacted by COVID-19 and have been doing so for more than a year. ”We’re really not doing it just to check boxes and fill out forms,” said Christina Gibson, the chronic disease prevention director. “We are doing it to protect our community and so when people understand that normally that happens maybe halfway through a conversation, they are more willing to give us information, but we do still have people that are very hesitant.”
Whether you test positive or are a close contact of someone who does, you’ll get a call from contact tracers. It’s their job to track the virus in the community and stop the spread by giving guidance on quarantining and more.
Leaders say they know these efforts have stopped further exposures in our community. ”The number of cases that we are seeing right now is very similar to what we were seeing in June. So there was a little bit of a dip before the July increase or surge so now we’re enjoying this period of low numbers of cases locally, but we are hearing about increase nationally that we’re trying to maintain vigilance,” Gibson said.
The Coastal Health District hope vaccination efforts will make a difference as we move forward. They say the vaccine does change guidance for those exposed to COVID-19. Members of their school response team say they have seen in local districts how the vaccine is playing a vital role. ”I am very happy about the vaccine and I am glad to as we are doing interviews we’re hearing that more and more faculty, staff and now students are being vaccinated for COVID-19 which means to us that there’s a protected group that is contributing to the herd immunity that will protect not only schools but the community,” Gibson said.
While leaders say their process hasn’t changed in the past year they are constantly updating their guidance to make sure we can stop the spread, but say they need your help to answer the call.