California using contact tracing process to prevent COVID-19 spread

Officials in California are using a contact tracing process to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus as businesses reopen in the state. (Screenshot)
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Updated 18 June 2020

California using contact tracing process to prevent COVID-19 spread

  • The process will focus particularly on asymptomatic carriers and people who may be unaware they have contracted the coronavirus

LOS ANGELES: Officials in California are using a contact tracing process to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus as businesses reopen in the state.

The process will focus particularly on asymptomatic carriers and people who may be unaware they have contracted the coronavirus.


“The point is to find all of those cases that are positive, we isolate them and provide services for them. We also ask them who did they come into close contact with and for us close contact right now definition is within 6 feet even if wearing a mask and over fifteen minutes. Dr. Alina Doorian told Arab News.

The Associate Dean for public health practice and project lead in the California contact tracing training program added: “Then contact tracers reach out every single one of those contacts to let them know that there’s a possible exposure to ask them how they’re feeling to see if they need to test etc. if we can do that and then also to ask them to self quarantine for 14 days.”

After an order from California Governor Gavin Newsome, Dr. Doorian has been training government employees to become tracers, prepping them with medical knowledge and communication skills.

“So far we’ve trained close to about four thousand people at this point in time but the idea is to train up to ten thousand as quickly as possible and quite possibly up to twenty thousand,” she said.

Contact tracing is all the more important now that shutdown orders are being lifted and people are leaving self isolation.

“The problem is people think it’s finished and that’s actually the bigger problem right now we’re actually still seeing cases rising,” Dr. Doorian explained. “Because we don’t have a vaccine yet or a treatment, the idea is to stop transmission and break the chains of transmission.”


Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

Updated 10 August 2020

Philippine trash trawlers earn little from virus-boosted surge in plastics

MANILA: Virgilio Estuesta has picked through trash in the Philippines’ biggest city for four decades, and is noticing an unusually large amount of plastics during his daily trawl of about 15 km (9.3 miles).
Tough curbs re-imposed to combat a surge in daily coronavirus infections are squeezing income for the 60-year-old, as many of the junkyards and businesses in Manila that buy his recyclables have been closed since March.
Plastic items, such as bottles and containers, dominate the contents of the rickety wooden cart Estuesta pushes through the deserted streets, far more than metals and cardboard, yet the money they bring in is not enough to get by.
“It’s been really hard for us, it’s been difficult looking for recyclables that sell high,” he said.
“Recently we’ve been seeing a lot more plastics, but the problem is they don’t really sell high.”
Environmentalists say the Philippines is battling one of the world’s biggest problems stemming from single-use plastics, and ranks among the biggest contributors to plastic pollution of the oceans. It has no reliable data for its plastics consumption.
Greenpeace campaigner Marian Ledesma said consumers and businesses are now using yet more single-use plastics, in a bid to ward off virus infections.
“The pandemic has really increased plastic pollution,” she added. “Just because there’s a lot more people using disposables now, due to misconceptions and fears around transmitting the virus.”
Since March 16, Manila has experienced lockdowns of varying levels of severity, in some of the world’s longest and tightest measures to curb the spread of the virus.
They are taking a toll on Estuesta, who hopes to start earning soon.
“When you go out, the police will reprimand you,” he said. “I was stuck at home and had to rely on government aid, which was not enough. I had to resort to borrowing money from people.”