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Who Is Responsible For Tracking Who Comes Into Contact With An Infected Coronavirus Patient?

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A Solano County woman with the coronavirus went undiagnosed for days at an area hospital.

Now a team of public health investigators, also called disease control investigators, are tasked with a big job: finding out who could also be infected.

Dr. Jeffrey Klausner is a professor at UCLA who formerly worked at the San Francisco County Department of Health and the CDC. He says "the responsibility of public health falls on a local level, so it's the county."

According to Klausner, the team will engage in what's called "contact tracing," which means interviewing family members and trying the impossible task of finding anyone who came within six feet of the infected patient.


"You try to develop a list with all these names and their phone numbers and then you begin the laborious process of trying to contact them," he said.

Once contact is made, that same team will decide whether they need to engage in quarantine protocol. Public health experts say you should be skeptical of how efficient quarantine really is, especially for respiratory diseases.

"The evidence that it really is beneficial is quite limited," said Dr. Klausner.

The CDC has also sent 10 staffers to help trace the Solano County woman's contacts. Dr. Klausner says the county can legally force quarantine on people. The state gives police and the county pretty broad authority to quarantine anyone if it's in the interest of public safety.

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