Baystate Health, DPH begin contact tracing after COVID-19 outbreak at Springfield facility

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – It has been two days since we learned about the COVID-19 outbreak at Baystate Medical Center that infected three dozen people.

A COVID-19 outbreak last week at Baystate Medical Center infected 23 employees and 13 patients. It resulted from an employee returning to work after contracting the virus at a ‘hot spot’ in the south.

As a result of this outbreak, Baystate has been working daily with the state on contact tracing. Its an extensive process and is considered the key to slowing the spread of COVID-19. The DPH formed the “Community Tracing Collaborative” in response to the massive need for contact tracing. A ‘contact’ is considered anyone who has been within six feet of an infected person for more than 15 minutes during the period of time they were infectious.

Baystate Health Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Amanda Westlake told 22News, “And that period of time begins two days before symptoms start, and extends for 10 days after symptoms started.”

Dr. Westlake said the information you provide to the contact tracer remains confidential.

“If you provide the information of those close contacts to the tracing collaborative, they will then reach out to those contacts in an anonymous and inform those contacts that they have had a potential exposure to COVID,” said Dr. Westlake.

Those contacts will be urged to self-quarantine and get tested for the virus.

One way to know that it is a contact tracer calling is by the caller ID. It will say “MA COVID Team.” You may also get a call from your local Health Department.

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