New York is utilizing disease detectives to track the coronavirus in an attempt to stem the spread amid an uptick in cases around the state, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The number of confirmed cases in New York State has jumped to at least 142 in just over one week, with about 4,000 people isolated in their homes as a precaution.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a special team of epidemiologists called the Epidemic Intelligence Service, aka the disease detectives, whose job is to figure out who might have been exposed to the virus and who might need to be tested or get medical attention.
They are at the forefront of the new coronavirus epidemic, and their detective work has been around for more than 65 years.
“Let’s say someone calls the hotline and says, ‘I was with this person,’” Sherlita Amler, Westchester County Commissioner of Health, who is overseeing the county’s efforts, told the Times. “‘Where were you? What were you doing? Who else was there? How did they look? Were they sick?’ That’s a piece of the puzzle.”
Globally, more than 100,000 people have been infected by the virus and more than 4,000 people have died in an epidemic that began in Wuhan, China.
In Westchester County, which has become a hot spot for the virus, public-health nurses entered homes and performed swab tests to determine whether the virus had spread. They also conducted in-depth interviews.
“We’re at a point where we have a chance to contain this,” said Dr. Amler. “But we won’t know for certain until it plays out a bit more.”