They are not detectives, but almost. Trackers are an essential part of preventing the spread of the coronavirus. They are nurses who are dedicated to investigating all the people with whom a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 has been in contact. They must call each one of them by phone to indicate that they have to remain isolated and not come into contact with other people, cutting the chain of infections.
“We are preparing to have a well-oiled system for autumn.”
The health departments of each autonomous community, together with Primary Care, are the ones who form the teams in their corresponding areas. Not all of them have the same number of people to track, nor do they have exactly the same protocols. But they have a common and universal objective: to locate all people with whom the person who has tested positive for PCR (a molecular technique that detects if we have the virus in the body) has been in contact, to prevent these people from turning come into contact with others.
Once someone appears as a new infected, they do a brief interview. He is asked where he has been in the last few days, with whom and what hygiene measures he has taken in each contact. Then, an attempt is made to locate suspicious contagion contacts by telephone. During that call, the suspect is explained that he has been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and is briefly asked about symptoms, fever, cough, etc. If the answer is affirmative, the tracker asks for a practice of PCR and isolation for 14 days, until the result is known.
Previously, these PCRs were only performed in the most severe cases hospitalized and in nursing homes.
Now the results of the confinement are seen, and there are hardly any serious cases; we can pay attention to those who have mild symptoms or are asymptomatic now, many tests are requested, and few test positive for the PCR.
There is also a regulated training at the Andalusian School of Public Health to train staff in tracking. We have been learning as we go along and working in tandem with the experience of the seasoned veterans and the will of those who had no previous experience, and now we are preparing to have the system greased by the time autumn arrives.
As we talked about before, now you can pay attention to details with a less saturated situation. The search can sometimes go beyond simply who you have been in contact with, but in which places you have been (especially about areas of Spain where it has passed to a more advanced stage). He is asked about everything,” explains Alfonso, the day is reconstructed step by step with the person: who has he been with, where did he go, who did he see there, did he use public transport … It is not asking who has been and is already, remembers every step that has been taken.