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Florida contact tracing: As a surge in 19 Covid cases, Florida health authorities often fail to trace contacts



Florida contact tracing: As a surge in 19 Covid cases, Florida health authorities often fail to trace contacts

The Rivera family awaits the call. And waiting. And waiting. But the call never came.

“I was surprised,” said Rivera, a nurse who has since recovered from a virus attack.

Despite claims that Florida is tracking every Covid-19 case, CNN investigations have found that health authorities in Florida, now the country’s number one hotspot for the virus, often fail to trace contacts, long considered to be the main tool in epidemic control.

Florida set a record for most cases of corona virus in the US in one day on Saturday, totaling 11,458, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, and on Sunday, the state surpassed 200,000 Covid-19 cases.

The challenge of Florida contact tracing is an indication of how difficult it is for countries hit by Covid-19 to conduct correct contact tracing, which is a challenge even in the best of circumstances. This virus has spread in countries like Florida so it is a very big task to track every infected person and follow up with all their close contacts.

CNN spoke with 27 Florida people, or their family members, who tested positive using Covid-19. Of those, only five said they had received a call from the health authority asking for their contact.

There are concerns about contact tracing nationally, not just in Florida. In an interview in June, CNN asked Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, how he thinks contact tracing takes place in the United States.

“I don’t think we did well,” he replied.

What is contact tracking?

Contact tracing is a centuries-old practice, and the basics have not changed much: Basically, health care workers ask for a list of infected people who have been contacted while potentially communicable. The worker then tells the contacts to quarantine themselves and monitor the symptoms.

Contact tracing 101: How it works, who can be hired, and why it's so important in fighting coronavirus now
That CDC providing detailed contact tracking guidelines to the state health department, explaining that “monitoring of COVID-19 contacts can effectively break the chain of disease transmission and prevent further spread of the virus in a community.”
White House guidelines described contact tracing as one of the responsibilities of the core states of preparedness.
A online infographic the Florida Department of Health described contact tracing as “a core public health function,” and stated that local epidemiologists would ask people with the virus to list all the people they had contacted for the past two weeks, and the county health department would monitor those contacts.

A spokesman for the Florida Department of Health in Miami-Dade County sent CNN a statement about tracing contacts in his country.

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“When the Ministry of Health receives notification that someone has tested positive for COVID-19, the department carries out extensive epidemiological investigations in relation to [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] to identify people who might have close contact with the virus. These people were then told by their regional health department and instructed to isolate themselves for 14 days after exposure to the virus, and to immediately contact their local health department and health care provider if they experience symptoms. “This process is followed for all those who test positive in Florida,” Olga Connor wrote in an email.

The number of contact tracers in Florida is unclear

That National Association of District and City Health Officers estimates that during a pandemic, people need 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. Florida, with a population of 21.5 million people, will need 6,443 contact tracers.
Florida doesn’t have nearly that much, and it’s not alone. According to the July 3 report by Nephron Research, only seven states have enough contact tracker to meet NACCHO standards.

It is unclear how many contact trackers are employed by the state of Florida, because a spokesman for the Department of Health gave CNN two different numbers.

“More than 1,600 people, including students, epidemiologists, and other staff from across the Department, are currently involved in tracing every positive COVID-19 case in Florida,” Candy Sims, a spokesman for the Florida Department of Health in Broward County wrote to CNN.

Florida topped 200,000 cases of coronavirus when the state marked a different July 4th

The department has involved private companies to hire 400 additional contact trackers, Sims added.

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But Alberto Moscoso, a spokesman for the health department, citing a larger number, wrote to CNN that Florida has 2,300 “individuals involved in contact tracing.”

Sims and Moscoso did not respond to CNN’s questions about the differences in their numbers.

In a online infographic, Florida Department of Health asks infected people to call their own contacts.

“Immediately notify people who have been in close contact with you when you are sick,” according to the picture, noting that the contact must be quarantined for 14 days.

That CDCHowever, giving different advice. The agency recommended that the local health department request a list of people they had close contact with an infected person starting two days before experiencing symptoms.

The Florida infographic does not explain what to do if someone is tested positive for Covid-19 but never shows symptoms. According to the CDC, in that case, people must be notified if they have close contact with an infected person two days before that person has a Covid test.

5 out of 27 Florida residents received contact tracing

Of 27 Florida residents who tested positive using Covid-19, five told CNN that they had received a call from a health worker asking for their contact.

Among the 27 cases, the earliest diagnosis was in February, and the most recent was last week.

Riveras signed Covid in early March, when contact tracers were under far less pressure than they are now. Shaila Rivera said an official from the Miami-Dade District Health Department called and asked questions about their illness but did not ask about their contacts.

Contact tracing can be a routine part of office life. This is how it works

“We were surprised,” said Rivera, a child nurse practitioner. “The whole conversation took less than a minute. There was no question as to who you were in contact with? Did you go to work? There was nothing like that.”

Eleven others out of 27 said they, like Riveras, received a call from a Florida health official but were not asked for their contact.

David Pugh, who lives in Broward County, said he received such calls.

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“I do not know that we can rely on the state to do a thorough job. I think there are clearly deficiencies in the system,” he said.

Doubts about the usefulness of contact tracing

Contact tracing has been carried out since the first case in the United States more than five months ago, and there are several reasons why it failed to withstand an outbreak.

First, CDC estimates that 35% of Covid’s cases are asymptomatic, and these people are as contagious as those who have symptoms.

“How do you track contacts when someone has no symptoms?” Fauci said in his interview with CNN. “The identification, alienation, standard and standard contact search paradigms don’t work, however good you are because you don’t know who you are tracking.”

Also, he said some people were hesitant to talk with government officials.

“The points are not connected because a lot is done by telephone,” Fauci said. “Fifty percent of people because you come from authority, don’t even want to talk to you.”

On top of all these problems, some experts doubt the usefulness of contact tracing in areas such as Florida where cases are very large.

Epidemiologist Michael Osterholm urged Florida leaders to focus on other strategies, such as finding out where the virus is spreading.

“For example, if young adults in a bar are a problem, you have to close the bar,” said Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, who recently issued report on contact tracking.

With thousands of new cases a day in Florida, Osterholm doubts that contact tracing will have much effect.

“If Florida can get back under 50 to 100 cases a day, contact tracing can help. But at the moment, it is unlikely to have a measurable impact,” he said. “It’s like trying to put out a forest fire with a fire truck. That won’t make a dent.”

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Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.



Portuguese historical films will premiere on 29 December.

Method Media Bermuda will present the documentary FABRIC: Portuguese History in Bermuda on Thursday, December 29 at the Underwater Research Institute of Bermuda.

A spokesperson said: “Method Media is proud to bring Bermuda Fabric: Portugal History to Bermuda for its 5th and 6th showing at the Bermuda Underwater Observatory. In November and December 2019, Cloth: A Portuguese Story in Bermuda had four sold-out screenings. Now that Bermuda has reopened after the pandemic, it’s time to bring the film back for at least two screenings.

“There are tickets For $ 20 – sessions at 15:30 and 18:00. Both screenings will be followed by a short Q&A session.

Director and producer Milton Raboso says, “FABRIC is a definitive account of the Portuguese community in Bermuda and its 151 years of history, but it also places Bermuda, Acors and Portugal in the world history and the events that have fueled those 151 years.

“It took more than 10 years to implement FABRIC. The film was supported by the Minister of Culture, the Government of the Azores and private donors.

Bermuda Media Method [MMB] Created in 2011 by producer Milton Raposo. MMB has created content for a wide range of clients: Bermuda’s new hospital renovation, reinsurance, travel campaigns, international sports and more. MMB pays special attention to artistic, cultural and historical content.

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Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.



Maestro de Braga is the first Portuguese in the National Symphony Orchestra of Cuba.

Maestro Filipe Cunha, Artistic Director of the Philharmonic Orchestra of Braga, has been invited to conduct the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra, as announced today.

According to a statement sent by O MINHO, “he will be the first Portuguese conductor to conduct this orchestra in its entire history.”

In addition to this orchestra, the maestro will also work with the Lyceo Mozarteum de la Habana Symphony Orchestra.

The concerts will take place on 4 and 12 March 2023 at the National Theater of Cuba in Havana.

In the words of the maestro, quoted in the statement, “these will be very beautiful concerts with difficult but very complex pieces” and therefore he feels “very motivated”.

From the very beginning, Rachmaninoff’s Piano Concerto No. 2 will be performed by an Italian pianist (Luigi Borzillo), whom the maestro wants to bring to Portugal later this year. In the same concert, Mendelshon’s First Symphony will be performed.

Then, at the second concert, in the company of the Mexican clarinetist Angel Zedillo, he will perform the Louis Sfora Concerto No. 2. In this concert, the maestro also conducts Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony.

“This is an international recognition of my work. An invitation that I accept with humility and great responsibility. I was surprised to learn that I would be the first Portuguese member of the Cuban National Symphony Orchestra. This is a very great honor,” the maestro said in a statement.

“I take with me the name of the city of Braga and Portugal with all the responsibility that goes with it, and I hope to do a good job there, leaving a good image and putting on great concerts. These will be very special concerts because, in addition to performing pieces that I love, especially Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky, I will be directing two wonderful soloists who are also my friends. It will be very beautiful,” concludes Filipe Cunha.

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