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Newsom stresses importance of coronavirus contact tracing

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SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KRON) – “A lot of work has been put in place. Not as much attention perhaps as deserved, so that’s why we want to highlight our contact tracing status here today,” said Governor Gavin Newsom during his press conference on Monday.

He discussed the nearly 11-thousand person contact tracing army the state has built over the last seven months. All dedicated to making sure one positive test doesn’t turn into ten or twenty.

“I talked to you many weeks ago about getting our case rate down and our infrastructure of contact tracing up, and we’ve done that with these 10 thousand plus staff,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly.

The health and human services secretary says that as the state continues to see thousands of positive test results a day, it’s critical to figure out who else may be at risk.

Right now, 90% of COVID-19 tests are coming back in a 24-48 hour period, meaning local health departments are able to act more quickly.

97% of them are reporting they are now able to reach out to potentially exposed contacts on the same day that a positive result was received.  

Newsom and Ghaly say testing will remain critical – and what follows a positive test is just as important.

“We want to make sure the testing leads to something, and in order to box this virus in, quarantine and isolation become essential,” Newsom added.

There is still an average of 69 deaths a day due to COVID-19, so officials are urging the public to continue mask-wearing and social distancing. 

As we head into the holidays, the state has released some updated gathering guidelines and Tuesday halloween guidelines will be announced as well.

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