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Coronavirus contact tracing is ramping up

Contact tracing
Contact tracing is a key part of the strategy for corralling coronavirus. (University of Washington Photo)

The Washington State Department of Health is in the early stages of a massive effort to interview COVID-19 patients and track down those who might have been infected by those patients.

Contact tracing is a tried and true technique, typically used to stem the spread of infectious diseases ranging from tuberculosis to measles to gonorrhea. Now it’s part of the strategy for getting the coronavirus pandemic under control.

“Contact tracing is going to be an essential part of our reopening and containment efforts moving forward,” said Janet Baseman, an epidemiologist at the University of Washington’s School of Public Health. “We need to trace every contact possible, because every contact counts in stopping this disease.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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