Case investigation and contact tracing (CICT) is an important tool for controlling the spread of COVID-19. Sara Alert is a tool for local health departments to support their CICT efforts in mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in their communities.
To reach communities that are most impacted by inequities during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is essential to integrate considerations for these communities of focus into all aspects of the response efforts. When equity work is sequestered to one area of the response, there are often siloes in the work and equity considerations can become reactive instead of proactive.
Data collection and management can be challenging in a rapidly evolving infectious disease outbreak such as COVID-19. Data is often collected by various individuals in different formats in the early stages of investigation. Effective data organization and access is essential to COVID-19 response activities, including case investigation and contact tracing.
Refugees can receive more and better services when the people who support them have access to complete and accurate information on their healthcare needs. However, this may be challenging as health departments work to reach more refugees in their case investigation and contact tracing (CICT) efforts.
The availability of accurate COVID-19 information that is culturally and linguistically appropriate is essential to keeping communities safe. Likewise, it is also vital to provide information via channels that community members actively use and trust.
The case investigation and contract tracing (CICT) process may involve several potential challenges when attempting to reach refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities. Case investigators and contact tracers may be unable to reach or engage RIM community members during the initial phone call due to interpretation challenges, mistrust of answering an unknown phone number, or uncertainty/fear about what is being done with the information gathered.
In the COVID-19 public health response, some sites report low attempts to follow-up and low response rates within refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities. This leads to inaccurate data for case investigators and contact tracers. Likewise, it is also essential to provide information and services via channels that community members actively use and trust.
Some health departments experience challenges reaching some refugee, immigrant, and migrant (RIM) communities during case investigation and contact tracing (CICT) due to limited numbers of professional interpreters or bilingual CICT staff.
Some multilingual case investigation and contact tracing (CICT) staff have encountered unique challenges when using standard scripts for CICT, particularly when encountering situations with cases or contacts not covered by the script. These situations pose not only communication barriers but may be particularly difficult or stressful for CICT staff.