Importance of contact tracing emphasized

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Contact tracers Kai and Nick Akimoto say the importance of contact tracing must be emphasized to increase public participation.

By now. everyone knows the importance of social distancing and wearing masks to fight COVID. But some feel more needs to be done to raise awareness of another key part of that fight — contact tracing.

Contact tracers Kai and Nick Akimoto say the importance of contact tracing must be emphasized to increase public participation.

They say contact tracing is key to determining how quickly and safely the island can reopen.

One of the difficulties with contact tracing is people often have poor memory of who they were in contact with.

A mobile app called Guam COVID Alert was released earlier this month to help remedy the problem, but the amount of downloads have not met expectations.

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“Having this app really should be a game-changer, but like I said, efficacy doesn’t .. really won’t kick in until we have that minimum threshold of participation,” Kai Akimoto said.

So far, there have been about 14,000 downloads, which amounts to about 10% of the population. For the app to be effective, at least 60% of the population would need to download it.

They say increasing the amount of contact tracers is also important as the island eases restrictions because people will come in contact with more people.

Earlier this month, the University of Guam and the University of San Francisco collaborated to train 94 contact tracers, to add to the 20 contact tracers and 24 investigators already working on the island.

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