Contact Tracing And Isolation Can Help Reduce COVID-19 Infection Rates, Study Shows

by GoNews Desk 4 years ago Views 1926

Contact Tracing And Isolation Can Help Reduce COVI
Contact tracing to rapidly isolate people who could be infected with COVID-19 can help reduce the time during which people are infectious in the community, a study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases journal.

The study was performed for over four weeks, from January 14 to February 12, in China’s Shenzhen and examined 391 patients and 1,286 of their close contacts, during which authorities identified who to isolate based on their contact with confirmed cases, as well as isolated people who already had symptoms.

The contacts were tested irrespective of whether they had symptoms in order to identify infected people who were asymptomatic. The data gave insights into the type of contact most likely to lead to transmission. Close contacts were defined as people who shared a household with infected patients up to 2 days before they started showing symptoms, or interacted with them socially by travelling or eating together.

The new study found that contact tracing initially increased the speed at which new cases were confirmed by two days from an average of 5.5 days, but was reduced to 3.2. Contact tracing reduced the length of time between someone first experiencing symptoms and being diagnosed.

For people who were isolated because they showed symptoms of COVID-19, it took an average of 4.6 days for them to be isolated following the first signs of infection. Contact tracing reduced this to an average of 2.7 days.

There were only three deaths in the study group during the study period.

“The experience of COVID-19 in the city of Shenzhen may demonstrate the huge scale of testing and contact tracing that’s needed to reduce the virus spreading,” says Dr Ting Ma from the Harbin Institute of Technology at Shenzhen, China.

“Some of the strict control measures enforced here, such as isolating people outside their homes, might be unlikely to be replicated elsewhere, but we urge governments to consider our findings in the global response to COVID-19. To achieve similar results, other countries might be able to combine near-universal testing and intensive contact tracing with social distancing and partial lockdowns. Although no lockdown measures were introduced in Shenzhen until the end of our study period, Wuhan’s lockdown could have significantly restricted the spread of coronavirus to Shenzhen.”

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