As part of efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, Governor Gavin Newsom today launched California Connected, the state’s comprehensive contact-tracking program alongside the awareness campaign. As part of California Connected, public health workers from communities across the state will connect with and work with individuals who test positive for the COVID-19, and with people they have been in close contact with, to ensure they have access to confidential tests, medical care, and other services to help prevent the spread of the virus.
The Administration is leading the state program in collaboration with the California Department of Public Health, local public health departments, and the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) and Los Angeles (UCLA), which have launched a virtual training academy to develop a specialized and culturally trained workforce.
“We are all eager to return to work and recreation, and that is why we are asking Californians to answer the call when they see their local public health department contact them by phone, email, or text,” Governor Newsom said. “That simple act of answering the call can save lives and help keep our families and communities healthy.”
To prevent the spread of the virus, public health workers will connect Californians with confidential testing. They may also recommend medical care and individuals who may be contagious separate from others in their home to protect those in their environment.
Information provided to public health departments is confidential under California law. Public health authorities will not share this information with other entities. This information will only be used for public health purposes. Contact trackers will not ask for financial information, social security numbers, or immigration status.
“A key step in preventing the spread of COVID-19 is to quickly identify and limit new cases, through the diversity of our populations — and that is precisely what this state program does,” said Dr. Sonia Angell, Director of the California Department of Public Health and State Health Officer. “We are working alongside the brightest minds in public health, academia, and private industry to design a program that can decrease the risk of COVID-19 in all of our communities and thus continue on the path to reopening.”
The California Connected awareness campaign launches this week with the support of several private partners who have committed a total of $ 5.1 million in in-kind funds and resources to help educate all Californians and underserved communities in particular. These contributors include Jeff Skoll and his organizations (The Skoll Foundation, Participant, and Ending Pandemics), The California Health Care Foundation, The California Endowment, Twitter and Facebook are added to media contributors who have supported the broader awareness effort.
Starting this week, Californians across the state will listen to radio announcements, watch labels, social media messages, and videos in multiple languages encouraging them to answer the call to lessen the spread of COVID-19. Public health workers across the state — will appear on the caller ID as “CA COVID Team” —call, text, and email individuals with positive COVID-19 results and people who may have unknowingly exposed the virus.
The state plans to launch 10,000 contact trackers across the state as part of the plan to reopen California. More than 500 individuals have trained under the new contact tracking program, and more than 300 are training this week.
To streamline and coordinate these efforts, Accenture, a global professional services company, is launching a data management platform developed by Salesforce and the ability to contact (phone calls, texts, and emails) in collaboration with Amazon’s web services, Amazon Connect. These organizations have successfully implemented a large-scale contact tracking effort in Massachusetts.