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Contact Tracing Efforts Continue To Increase In Allegheny County As Coronavirus Cases Surge

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- As positive coronavirus cases continue to rise in Allegheny County, testing capabilities and contact tracing are increasing too.

"We opened up a two-hour slot that got filled in less than an hour so we expanded to two more hours," said Raji Jayakrishnan, the executive director for Community Health Clinic.

The clinic will start its first mass coronavirus testing in New Kensington on Tuesday after prescreening hundreds of patients.

"They had to go through a series of questions about their health. Did they have any symptoms? Did they come in contact with anyone? Have they left home?" Jayakrishnan said.

She told KDKA that the majority of people seeking tests do not have symptoms, but rather they were exposed to someone who is positive.

"We are in a much different place than we were at the beginning of this pandemic. Our testing is up to almost 20,000 a day," said Gov. Tom Wolf at a briefing on Monday.

If a test comes back positive, a case investigator calls the person. Questions to that person can include symptoms, who they've had close contact with, any events they've attended, or if they sought medical attention.

The close contact names are then given to contact tracers, who call those people with similar questions and may recommend testing or quarantining.

"The state is doing what it can to keep increasing the number of people who are going to be contact tracing trained," Wolf said.

Right now, Allegheny County officials report that the coronavirus contact tracers can make up to 15 calls a day.

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