Case Investigation + Contact Tracing

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Build trust with targeted strategies

Case investigation and contact tracing (CICT) is an important tool for controlling the spread of COVID-19. CICT among RIM communities may be improved through strategies and approaches that are tailored to working with these groups. By embracing community engagement and partnerships, and taking into account cultural and linguistic considerations, you can ensure your CICT efforts are successful.

Promising Practices are strategies, approaches, or programs that have anecdotally shown to have a positive impact in some local settings, however, there is not yet enough research-based evidence to certify as a best practice.

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Sara Alert to Automate Symptom Monitoring

Sara Alert is an open-source data monitoring tool that automates the process of public health monitoring and reported to individuals exposed or infected with COVID-19.

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Embedding Equity throughout the COVID-19 Response Organizational Structure

It is essential to integrate considerations for refugee, immigrant, and migrant communities into all aspects of public health response efforts. Read more about the Minnesota Department of Health’s work to embed equity throughout the COVID-19 response organizational structure. 

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Database Linkages to Support CICT among RIM Communities

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.

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Outreach to RIM Communities ahead of CICT Efforts 

Due to the limited number of times a case investigator or contract tracer has to reach an individual, strategizing around creative ways to engage, educate, and increase awareness around CICT ahead of the first call can help ensure success.

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WhatsApp to Reach and Engage RIM Communities

WhatsApp is a popular social messaging tool for many communities, including refugees, immigrants, and migrants and can be a powerful tool to reach and engage communities.

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REDCap Databases to Manage CICT Information

The process of CICT can generate a tremendous amount of data. Electronic data capture software such as REDCap can allow health departments or organizations to create databases to manage their CICT data.

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Cultural Navigators to Liaise Between Communities and Public Health

A promising practice is to work with community-based organizations (CBOs) to seek out trusted partners to serve as “cultural navigators.” These cultural navigators support the response, spread messaging and join public health interviews but do not serve as case investigators.

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Multilingual Coffee Hour – Peer Support Group for CICT Teams 

Health departments and community-based organizations have found success holding "coffee hours" for multilingual CICT staff outside of training to handle questions and discuss scenarios that have come up during case investigations and contact tracing. Select this promising practice to see how to implement a coffee hour in your community.

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Staffing Agencies to Increase Language Capacity for CICT 

Health departments are partnering with staffing agencies to hire multilingual case investigators / contact tracers and contract interpreters. Select this promising practice to learn how to utilize staffing agencies to increase the language capacity of your CICT team.

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Stress and Resilience for Case Investigators and Contact Tracers

COVID-19 case investigators and contact tracers can be affected by secondary traumatic stress and compassion fatigue. Check out our interactive, self-care guide that features the voices and perspectives of other case investigators and contact tracers and tips for taking care of yourself. 

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Working with Interpreters during Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

This module is for case investigators and contact tracers, supervisors and interpreters working with case investigators and contact tracers. Interpreters play a vital role in ensuring RIM communities have a full understanding of the information shared by public health professionals. Learn how you can improve collaboration with these skilled professionals during CICT. 

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CICT Engagement

A Facilitator's Guide for Conducting Listening Sessions 

Working in the COVID-19 pandemic has been stressful for Contact Tracers and Case Investigators, but listening sessions with staff and supervisors can help. This module demonstrates how supervisors can conduct listening sessions to provide support to staff, and includes handouts with suggested language and questions to facilitate a listening session. 

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Translated Materials Library
A growing collection of publicly available health communications materials related to COVID-19 exist in multiple languages.  Select "Contact Tracing" in the drop-down list labeled "Topics" to find material most relevant to CICT.  

COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing among Refugee, Immigrant, and Migrant Populations: Important Considerations for Health Departments (CDC)
This CDC link lists factors that affect prevention interventions in RIM populations and describes ways health departments can conduct effective case investigation and contact tracing. Additional resources to support this guidance are provided.

Contact Tracing Resources for Health Departments Resources for Conducting Contact Tracing to Stop the Spread of COVID-19  (CDC)
CDC has built a collection of contact tracing implementation guides and tools to support US health departments. This page provides guidance documents, communication resources, digital tools for contact tracing, and federal, state, and private sector resources. The CDC guidance documents for COVID-19 may be adapted by state and local health departments to respond to rapidly changing local circumstances.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Communications Toolkit for Health Departments (CDC)
This CDC toolkit provides talking points for general messaging and messaging along the CICT continuum, as well as sample public service announcements, graphics, and social media posts to support COVID-19 messaging.

Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator (George Washington University) 
The estimator is a tool for state and local leaders to prepare for COVID-19 contact tracing in order to safely reopen and protect the health of communities. Users can adjust several workload and capacity variables according to the circumstances and needs of their location and set the daily cases at the county or state level to plan for future CT workforce needs. 

Contact Tracing Staffing Calculator (Prevent Epidemics)
The excel calculator helps estimate staff resources needed for scaling up contact tracing.

Digital Contact Tracing Tools (CDC)
There are two key types of technology that can contribute to the contact tracing process: case management tools and proximity tracing/exposure notification tools. Technology can support case investigation and contact tracing but cannot take the place of the staff who interview, counsel, and provide support for those impacted by COVID-19.