Answering Call: Contact Tracing in Los Angeles County
Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Public Health (DPH) deployed over 600 Public Health Staff to advance case interviewing and contact tracings efforts. However, the substantial surge in daily cases of COVID-19 required DPH to work collaboratively across public and private agencies to rapidly onboard, train, and deploy more than 2,000 employees from other County Departments, Los Angeles City, the State, public and private agencies to serve as case interviewers and contact tracers.
DPH also partnered with colleges and universities to bring on social services, medical, and nursing students to support our COVID-19 efforts. Of the 239,756 total positive cases of COVID-19, 94.7% (169,976) have had a follow-up within one day of assignment. Of the 65,078 contacts identified with one day of assignment. DPH continues to identify strategies to increase the response rate and number of contacts identified, including a social media campaign to create awareness about the importance of responding to a call from public health, text messages to those who have not responded to calls from case interviewers, and a gift card incentive program to encourage completion of case interviews.
Brave New LA: The County, The Virus, and The HOO
In mid-March 2020, COVID-19 made its presence known in Los Angeles County (County). As of August 30, 2020, there have been 241,768 positive cases and 5,784 reported deaths in the County. In alignment with the State’s Pandemic Resilience Roadmap, Los Angeles County and specifically the Department of Public Health (Public Health), implemented the 3 C’s: Compliance, Containment, and Collaboration. These combined efforts are aimed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to gradually allow the safe return of some activities and operations of some businesses in the County.
At the forefront of the Compliance efforts, are Public Health’s Environmental Health Division’s (EH) inspectors, who have tirelessly and consistently addressed violations of the Health Officer Order (HOO), through education and enforcement in various sectors. Outreach was conducted via media, collaboration with community organizations, and in-person engagement. Since March 2020, EH has responded to 57,973 COVID-19 related calls and complaints from its different complaint intake portals; and conducted 39,438 field investigations of HOO violations of food facilities, hotels, garment manufacturing, public swimming pools, body art facilities, unpermitted food street vendors and 4,450 unregulated businesses.