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Health officials say contact tracing is key to reopening California


SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KRON) – California leaders gave an update on the state’s effort to track and trace the coronavirus.

In California’s first few weeks of its contact tracing program, Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly acknowledged the effectiveness of the program is off to a slower start.

“At the level of transmission we’re seeing across the state, even a very robust contact tracing program in every single county will have a hard time reaching out to every single case,” Ghaly said.

As of this month, the state has 10,000 newly trained COVID-19 contact tracers to help county health officers track the spread of the virus.

About a third of them have reportedly been deployed in the last couple of weeks.

“We’re working patiently with the counties to trying to increase their ability to accept the new contact tracing staff from the state, but also doing it in a way that works for their communities,” Ghaly said.

Ghaly says contact tracing issues partially contributed to the state’s latest round of shut downs, requiring bars and indoor operations at many businesses to close.

He says the state continues to work on building up the program so these sections of the economy can reopen again.

“But if the data trends turn to such a place where we aren’t confident we can get there, there will be potential for further dimming in parts of the state,” Ghaly said.

Ghaly said it could be up to five weeks before we see how or even if the latest closures slowed the spread of the virus.

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