Toronto Public Health expands case and contact management work

Toronto Public Health (TPH), in partnership with the Province of Ontario, is today announcing the expansion of the case and contact management component of the City's COVID-19 response. As our local response to the spread of the virus continues, TPH’s case and contact management program is an important tool to help curb this virus spread.

To expand TPH’s case and contact management work, the following enhancements are currently underway:

  • In partnership with the Province, 180 contact callers and case managers have been added to focus on rapid isolation of cases.
  • With the support of the Province, an additional 100 case managers are being recruited for Toronto Public Health to focus on rapid isolation of cases while Toronto Public health staff perform higher risk investigations, including clusters and workplace outbreaks.
The implementation of this streamlined approach enables public health investigators to focus on high risk investigations, while other case and contact management staff focus on rapid isolation of cases.

These new enhancements build on TPH's work since the beginning of the pandemic to scale up its case and contact management response. Since March 2020, TPH has increased the case and contact management team from 50 staff to now more than 900, built a custom data system to increase the speed and efficiency of case and contact management, launched new technology and tools such as text messaging and automated voicemails, and partnered with university and healthcare institutions to improve the speed and effectiveness of this work.

Case and contact management plays an important role in managing and responding to an infectious disease such as COVID-19. After receiving laboratory confirmation of a COVID-19 case, TPH staff follow up with the individual to confirm the person is isolating, identify their close contacts, and investigate how they might have contracted the virus.

Quotes:

“Confronting COVID-19 is an all hands on deck effort. The City and the province have worked together to dramatically expand Toronto Public Health's case and contact management team. I want to thank everyone involved in the case and contact management efforts and thank the Province for their continued partnership. We can all help protect each other and our healthcare system by staying home as much as possible right now to reduce the possibility for COVID-19 to spread." - Mayor John Tory

"Continuing to scale up our contact tracing capacity is key to helping stop the spread of COVID-19 in our city. Adding 280 people to the team makes a strategic shift possible, wherein contact callers and case managers can focus on the rapid isolation of cases, while Toronto Public Health investigators tackle high-risk settings, including clusters and workplace outbreaks. By tackling both the rapid isolation of cases and high-risk settings, our team at Toronto Public Health can help to further limit transmission and keep Torontonians safe."

- Councillor Joe Cressy (Spadina-Fort York), Chair of the Board of Health

"Case and contact management is complex and a central component of our COVID-19 response. Investigations into where the individual may have acquired COVID-19 provides our team with the opportunity to proactively work upstream to prevent further virus spread. On behalf of TPH I extend sincere thanks to the province for their support in this important area of our local response. Today’s news is encouraging as we work to do everything we can to stop the spread of this virus and save lives in Toronto.”

- Dr. Eileen de Villa, Medical Officer of Health

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