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Employers need to help out with contact tracing | READER COMMENTARY

AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin: Contact tracing vital to deal with viral outbreak.
AP Illustration / Peter Hamlin: Contact tracing vital to deal with viral outbreak. (p.hamlin/AP)

Information obtained through contact tracing is critical to stemming the spread of COVID-19, as indicated in your recent article, “What contact tracing is telling us about where Marylanders may be getting the coronavirus” (July 29).

Employers can help lead in this area and new data illustrates why their involvement is so imperative. As your story states, recent interviews with COVID-19 patients in Maryland show 54% of individuals worked outside their home at the time of their positive result, indicating that traditional workplaces may be areas prone to increased virus spread.

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Though state and local health departments are responsible for handling COVID-19 case investigations and contact tracing, employers can help increase the speed and efficiency of these efforts by understanding how to review infected employees’ recent interactions with the virus. This helps employers determine who else may have contracted it.

The National Safety Council created SAFER — Safe Actions for Employee Returns — to help employers prioritize and plan for safety as they start resuming regular operations and states begin to reopen. We encourage all employers to use the guidance SAFER has developed to assist with contact tracing efforts.

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By having employers assist with contact tracing, we can better ensure the country has a successful economic recovery.

Lorraine M. Martin, Itasca, Ill.

The writer is president and CEO of the National Safety Council.

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