With another day of record setting hospitalizations, WAAY 31 worked to learn what the Alabama Department of Public Health is doing to keep up contact tracing.
A professor in Texas said with the rising cases of coronavirus in the United States, it's nearly impossible for contact tracing to be done.
Tuesday, Dr. Karen Landers with the Alabama Department of Public Health said it has committed to tracing who positive coronavirus patients contacted about two days before their symptoms started.
"In Alabama throughout this entire investigation of this pandemic, we have continued to do our case investigation and contact tracing and we are committed to that," she said.
The state is currently averaging about 1,000 new cases a day in the past week, which Landers said isn't making the process any easier.
"It is a challenge and I will not say it's been challenging for the Alabama Department of Public Health, but we have been doing contact tracing seven days a week since this pandemic occurred," Landers said.
Landers said the department currently has about 150 contact tracers, and with caseloads rising, so is the amount of work for tracers.
They've worked weekends, and holidays since the first cases were identified in Alabama. Landers also explained the health department's working to hire more contact tracers during the next couple of weeks to hopefully alleviate some of the challenge. She said if you test positive for the virus, they hope to contact you within a day but the tracing might take a little longer to complete.
"Our case investigation goal is 24 hours and certainly we would like to get the contacts from that case investigation and get that contact tracing done within 48 to 72 hours," she said.
Landers said a contact tracing app will be launched in the University of Alabama system this fall and later could be rolled out to the public.
Until then, all tracing will be with phone calls. The app will identify if someone came into close contact with someone for an extended period of time.However, once launched, users will have to opt-in on their cell phone.
Landers said no name has been chosen for the app yet.