COVID-19: NYC Quote of the Day 2020-06-16

Tuesday, June 16, 2020, Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director, Test and Trace Corps - We've Monitored More Than 4,200 New Yorkers

The mission of the Test and Trace Corps is to prevent the spread of the coronavirus across New York City. This starts with identifying cases or people newly diagnosed with coronavirus. We then ask them to identify contacts or people that cases may have exposed to the coronavirus since starting the Test and Trace Corps program on June 1st, just two weeks ago. We've identified more than 5,000 cases. Of those, 15 percent, we didn't have a phone number for them. However, for everybody that we did have a phone number for, we have now reached 94 percent of them. Of that 94 percent, more than 1,800 of these cases have shared with us contacts or people they may have exposed to the coronavirus. That's yielded us a list of more than 4,000 contacts across New York City. Now we had the same challenge with that list of 4,000 contacts where 36 percent of them, we didn't have a phone number for yet. However, for those that we did have a phone number for, we've reached more than 80 percent of them. And of that more than 80 percent, there was a subset of more than 300 people, that when we were talking to them on the phone, they shared with us that they were actively symptomatic and likely contagious with the coronavirus. In that moment, we were able to get them to isolate or quarantine to keep their families and their neighbors safe, and we were able to get them all of the resources that they needed to get through this.

To date, since the program went live on June 1st, we've monitored more than 4,200 New Yorkers, that's 65 percent of all of our cases and contacts put together. Of that, 65 percent of our cases in contact, more than a thousand of them, when we were talking to them on the phone, told us they needed help. That help was in the form of food delivery, help with their medications. And for each of them, we've paired them up with a resource navigator and we've given them the help that they need to get their families and their neighbors through this. In addition to that, 40 New Yorkers have arrived at our hotels after telling us that they couldn't safely separate home and they needed even more help. And we with open arms have brought them to our hotels.

How are we going to close the gap for getting the phone numbers and contact information for the cases and contacts where we don't currently have it? Three key ways. First, we're using databases like the Thomson Reuters database that collect phone numbers, we've already started to do that, it's effective. Second, our team is calling the doctor's offices that ordered the test because they have their patient's phone numbers. And then we're calling our cases in contacts, based on those phone numbers. Third, yesterday, we went live with training, a new type of tracer, this is a community engagement specialist, and these tracers are the ones that go into our communities, track people down, knock on doors and enroll them in the program.

I'm going to say one more thing today, and this is very important. One of the key reasons why our program has been so successful so early on is that more than half of all of our 3000 working tracers are people from our hardest hit communities across New York City, making this a local effort with New Yorkers in our communities, serving our communities. I'm pleased to announce today that we're awarding $4 million to community-based organizations to join us in the fight against the coronavirus and to drive this work forward together.

6/21/2020 UPDATE: I am frankly embarrassed by the editorializing and lack of facts in this front page article in the Sunday New York Times:
Edited for redundancy, grammar, and emphasis
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