Update, 6/30/20 – Kemp has extended the State of Emergency until August 11th, which means that the powers of the Georgia Contact Tracing team to force you to isolate from your family (and pets) with the threat backing of the police now runs through September 10, 2020.
If the Department has reasonable grounds to believe that a person subject to quarantine or isolation refuses to comply with the requirements of this Order, the Department may provide information to law enforcement as necessary to ensure compliance and facilitate criminal prosecution.
What you will read in this article may be hard to believe. This is not a conspiracy or something from California or New York. It all comes from official Georgia websites. The links can be found at the end of this article, and most of the text below are direct quotes from official state documents (sometimes with highlighting added).
These requirements were ordered June 2 and will remain in place for 30 days after the State of Emergency expires (currently July 12, 2020) which means these ‘guidelines’ are in force through August 11, unless the State of Emergency is extended for a fourth time.
The “Healthy Georgia Collaborative”
The Georgia Department of Health (DPH) is scaling up and training a large contact tracer workforce to stop the transmission of COVID-19. Georgia wants to call or virtually monitor every anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to document a symptom check, refer them for testing according to established protocols, and provide them with instructions for quarantine.
Trained public health staff work with people diagnosed with COVID-19 to help them recall everyone who they have had close contact with while they were infectious. Public health staff then alert these exposed individuals (contacts) as quickly as possible to prevent additional spread of the disease. A trained DPH staff member will notify the contact by text or phone that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and encourage them to self-quarantine to prevent the spread of the disease.
When DPH is notified of a case (a person with confirmed COVID-19), the case is interviewed and people they had close contact with (within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer) beginning two (2) days before they became ill are identified. DPH will then reach out to these individuals either by phone or text message to inform them that they have come in contact with someone with COVID-19 and enroll them in symptom monitoring. Individuals will be asked to monitor their symptoms and report any symptoms through a text messaging system, or by calling DPH if unable to text, and are asked to stay home for 14 days after their last contact with the case. Individuals who develop symptoms during the course of their symptom monitoring will be asked to isolate themselves at home and will be referred for COVID-19 testing.
You see phrases like “individuals will be asked,” “encourage them to self-quarantine,” and “asked to stay home for 14 days.” But look at some of the other text that is tucked inside these guidelines:
Individuals who do not report daily will be contacted by DPH.
Contacts must stay at home and maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others they live with, including animals, until 14 days after their last known exposure. Contacts should check their temperature twice daily and monitor for symptoms.
You are required to cooperate fully with all state and federal public health authorities, including the Georgia Department of Public Health, and to follow the measures outlined below.
If the Department has reasonable grounds to believe that a person subject to quarantine or isolation refuses to comply with the requirements of this Order, the Department may provide information to law enforcement as necessary to ensure compliance and facilitate criminal prosecution. Further, any person who refuses to isolate or quarantine himself or herself as required by this Order may be subject to such further action as may be necessary to protect the public’s health.
And notice the all-important word “shall” in the following:
…the person testing positive for COVID-19 shall immediately isolate himself or herself at home or another location approved by the Department
…the person with suspected COVID-19 infection shall immediately isolate himself or herself at home or another location approved by the Department.
Each isolated person shall avoid unnecessary physical contact with any and all persons and shall comply fully with the Isolation Protocol
Each isolated person shall remain in isolation until such time as he or she no longer presents a risk of infection to the public, as determined by the Isolation Protocol then in effect.
At the request of state or local public health personnel, the isolated person shall provide a list of the locations visited by the isolated person during the time frame that he or she may have been able to transmit the disease.
Upon notification by a healthcare provider, public health official, or isolated person of exposure to COVID-19 based on close contact (within six (6) feet for fifteen (15) minutes or more) with a person who must be isolated as provided herein, the person so exposed shall immediately quarantine himself or herself at home or another location approved by the Department. Each quarantined person shall remain at home or in the approved quarantine location for a period of fourteen (14) days from the person’s last known exposure to COVID-19.
You must not go outside your home unless you need medical care or in the event of an emergency, such as a fire.
How will this all be implemented? To what extent will these policies be followed? These are unanswered questions. One thing we can be sure of is that the structure is in place to make this happen.
We also know that Apple and the cell phone carriers have both released recent updates that will allow contact tracing apps to work and ensure that you are not blocking calls from any health department. But that is another article…
There are already over 1,300 Coronavirus Contact Tracers employed by the state and they are looking to hire 2,948. As of 6/12/20 they have a job posting on their website that is valid through June 28th. See the listing yourself by CLICKING HERE. Here are some of the highlights with typos as copied directly from the website:
Georgia Contact Tracer – Coronavirus Response
Salary – $15.00 Hourly
Location – Various – see job description, GA
Job Type – Full Time Hourly
Georgia Contact Tracers – Coronavirus Response
Program Mission: To protect State of Georgia employees by preventing disease, injury and disability through the promotion of health and wellbeing.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is seeking Contact Tracers to support the Department of Public Health and Local Boards of Health to perform COVID-19 contact tracing.
The Department of Public Health (DPH) will hire, train and supervise a team of community contact tracing staff across Georgia. The aim of this will be to call every person diagnosed with COVID-19, gather their contacts, and proceed to call every contact in Georgia. This will fortify efforts to control the pandemic in Georgia.
- Job Responsibilities
- The Contact Tracer will call all every case and either call or virtually monitor every contact of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to document a symptom check, refer them for testing according to established protocols, and provide them with instructions for quarantine. Contact Tracers are required to follow all scripts, policies and procedures provided by DPH, and comply with DPH training regarding confidential information related to personal information.
- Understand Contact Interviewing and Contact Tracing in the context of a pandemic
- Basic introduction into the standardized processes of Contact Interviewing and Contact Tracing
- Conducting Interviews
- Documentation of Interviews in a digital system
- Introduction to Daily Workflow
- Response to Common Requests and Referral for Testing
- Minimum Qualifications
- Minimum Qualifications:
High School Diploma
- Ability to exhibit a professional, positive attitude and work ethic
- Excellent interpersonal skills required and ability to interact professionally with culturally diverse individuals during a time of crisis and distress
- Ability to show empathy to distressed individuals
- Excellent organizational and communication skills
- Ability to speak, read, and write English
- Second or multiple languages a plus
- Critical thinking and sound judgment required
- Ability to handle confidential information with discretion and professionalism
- Proficiency with computers
Current College Student (Undergraduate or Graduate) majoring in Public Health or a closely related field or Recent Graduate.
Completion of coursework in Epidemiology
NOTE: There is a contract tracing flow-chart on this Georgia DPH webpage – https://dph.georgia.gov/contact-tracing. Look at it closely – it is from Massachusetts!