(INDIANAPOLIS) – On Wednesday, Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced the state is partnering with Maximus to centralize contact tracing and investigations for Hoosiers who test positive for COVID-19. This move, in tandem with a previously announced partnership with Optum to significantly expand testing across the state, is an essential component of efforts to safely reopen Indiana.
“As we fight the spread of COVID-19, we need the ability to rapidly contact positive patients and their close contacts to determine who else might have been exposed,” Gov. Holcomb said. “Centralizing this work will allow us to quickly identify individuals who need to be quarantined, reduce the risk of additional infections, and take actions to ensure our schools, workplaces and public settings are safe.”
Contact tracing involves identifying individuals who have tested positive for an illness and asking questions about who they were in contact with during their infectious period, then notifying those close contacts of their exposure. Historically, local health departments have led to this function, with assistance from the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) when requested.
“Our local health departments have been doing an incredible job with contact tracing for COVID-19, but we know that as the number of cases increases, the strain on local resources will be significant,” said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, M.D., FACOG. “This centralized approach will free up local health departments to connect people with supportive services in their communities, help with large outbreaks in congregate settings and continue to provide other essential public health services, such as immunizations.”
Plans call for hiring at least 500 employees, who will be trained in contact tracing and investigations by ISDH subject matter experts. The call center is expected to be operational around May 11.