Intensive Contact Tracing Could Have Slowed Coronavirus Spread in Savannah
Far ahead of other areas of the country, Savannah, Georgia, residents were tracking their contacts in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The move could be a lifesaver in more than one way for the coastal city, which relies on its shipping industry and tourism for a large portion of its economy.
According to Sean Bear, an epidemiologist with the state’s Department of Public Health, noted that the coastal region around Savannah has posted far fewer infections than other areas of the state and country, a trend he said could be due in large part to the area’s dedicating to tracking “contacts” between infected individuals and the others around them.
Although other areas of the state were eventually forced to forego contact tracking in high volumes because of the rising number of cases and subsequent strain on the public health system, Savannah and the surrounding region persevered. Now, Savannah health experts hope the move will help prevent a second wave of the virus.
What is Contact Tracing?
Contact tracing is the process of tracing and monitoring the movements of infected people. Although it is not limited to use in the current COVID-19 pandemic, this is certainly the subject around which most readers will likely have heard of the concept. Contact tracing can be conducted by phone call or email and, in most cases in the United States, is entirely voluntary. In other countries, contact tracing and tracking has become mandatory, and there are reports of using ankle monitors to make sure individuals remain at home.
Once an individual has been identified as having a coronavirus or a potential coronavirus diagnosis, contact tracing involves trying to determine where they may have traveled prior to self-isolation or quarantine and then attempting to enact quarantine of other contacts. According to the CDC, sound contact tracing practices require “large cadres of contact tracers” who serve as a dedicated staff in the process of “ensuring safe, sustainable, and effective quarantine of contacts to prevent additional transmission.” Of course, there are digital options in production as well, but the “Big Brother” angle makes these options far less popular.
What This Means for the Savannah Housing Market
Like nearly all areas of the country, Savannah’s housing market is, at present, in a sort of stasis. People are still buying and selling homes remotely, and early numbers indicate the market could simply push some of the traditional “Spring Heat” into the summer season if the state of Georgia’s “re-opening” at the end of April goes smoothly. Even if the state has to backtrack, Savannah is likely to remain ahead of the curve (in a positive way) for the foreseeable future.