As India makes its way through its second wave of COVID-19, it is crucial that we take precautions to keep ourselves safe. An important strategy we should be using is contact tracing–the process of identifying all those you have come in contact with in the last two weeks once you start to show symptoms. Well-executed contact tracing can be vital to breaking the chain of the transmission of the virus. Due to the current scale of the infection and crumbling healthcare system, access to COVID-19 tests and their results may be delayed. This makes it even more important that you take it upon yourself to do the best you can! Once you begin to experience symptoms, grab a pen and paper and utilise these tips to contact trace:
The most crucial piece of information in this process is to note the date you begin to feel symptoms of COVID-19—all the subsequent time calculations will be made around this. You should note what symptoms you are experiencing and their severity. Also, note when specific new symptoms start.
If your symptoms get worse, it’s possible that you may be too ill to make notes. In that case, it would be a helpful practice to jot down (in advance) any other conditions that may be related to your risk and treatment of the disease.
Starting from the date of two weeks before your SOD, take note of all the days you went into work, school, college, volunteering, or any establishment you spend time at regularly. Note down the address of the establishment including their PIN code, along with the phone number of your manager, HR, or institution’s administration, so they can be contacted by the authorities to disseminate further information in case you test positive. This helps ensure necessary precautions are taken within the institution and also helps catalogue positive cases for the region.
Outside of your daily professional engagements, take note of any activities you did in those two weeks. Note down the phone numbers and addresses of the places you visited along with the PIN codes. If you have your location permission turned on for your Google Maps app on your phone, this can be a useful way to check your location history to recall all the places that you visited in the given time period.
Next, you will need to take note of all the people you interacted with. You will need to note down their full names and phone numbers. Inform them and ensure that they are quarantining or going to get themselves tested. Do your best to provide full information without fear of being judged. These notes are for yourself and the concerned authorities, so we can all work together to curb the spread of the virus using early, informed action.
Finally, note down the names and numbers of the people you share your home with. In addition to their personal details, also make note of whether they are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19, if they have been tested, and their history of travel in the past two weeks. An important thing to note is–since when you have been isolating away from them in the time that you have been experiencing your symptoms.
If you can think of any needs that you might have while isolating, note them down. For example, you may need help getting groceries and food, procuring online mental health services, or any other physical aid. Writing these needs down can be useful to help yourself get organised, or share them with your loved ones. Feel free to also jot down any additional questions you may have for the doctor.
Going through this checklist and making clear notes of these details when you are in the early stages of the illness can take a huge load off. It also provides important, thorough information for authorities who might reach out to you and save them some time. So if you are experiencing any symptoms—grab your notepad and start writing—your future self will thank you!
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