California on Friday launched a new coronavirus contact tracking program, and Gov. Gavin Newsom launched a public campaign to get people involved,media CNET reported. The program, called California Connected, will help people who test positive for COVID-19 to get free confidential testing and medical advice. They will also provide tests for those who have close contact with people who have tested positive.
Californians will receive text messages, phone calls and emails from “CA COVID Team.” They ask people for their names, age, where they’ve been and who they’ve been, but they’ll never ask for financial information, social security numbers or immigration status. The program is thought to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus by detecting and isolating new cases.
“We’re all eager to get back to work and play,” Newsom said Friday. “We ask Californians to answer the phone when they see their local public health department contacting them by phone, email, or text message. The simple action of answering the phone can save lives and help keep families and communities healthy. “
In addition, the California government will make the program known to the public through billboards, radio ads, social media posts and video ads. Eventually, there will be 10,000 contact trackers statewide, but the program has so far trained 500 public health care workers.
Previously, contact tracking programs had been used in California for the treatment of polio, tuberculosis, measles, AIDS and other infectious diseases. It’s different from the contact tracking program that Apple and Google are developing, which will use Bluetooth and mapping technology on your phone to track where you’re going and who’s near you.
The goal of the two projects is to isolate people who have been exposed to positive cases so that the disease is not transmitted to others.