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Maine CDC works with MDI Hospital to assist in contact tracing for COVID-19 positive tourists

MDI Hospital will starting using Maine CDC's Sara Alert system to enroll close contacts of out-of-state confirmed cases
Shah says as part of a new pilot program, a team of volunteers from the hospital will now electronically report these cases on the state's monitoring and reporting system called SARA Alert.
Shah says as part of a new pilot program, a team of volunteers from the hospital will now electronically report these cases on the state's monitoring and reporting system called SARA Alert.(Emily Tadlock)
Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 6:48 PM EDT
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BAR HARBOR, Maine (WABI) - MDI Hospital in Bar Harbor says it’s receiving phone calls from out-of-state tourists who tested for the coronavirus before they came to Maine, then found out they were positive after they arrived.

Head of the Maine CDC Doctor Nirav Shah says a total of five to seven people in the last week and a half have made that call.

Now the CDC is teaming up with the hospital to keep track of those tourists.

Under the governor’s executive order, out-of-state visitors, with some exceptions, have to either quarantine for 14 days when they visit or receive a negative test result within 72 hours before they arrive.

Processing delays at labs across the country are causing issues for travelers, many of them arriving in the state ahead of their results.

Dr. Shah says he had a meeting with hospital president Arthur Blank today to discuss a solution.

He said as part of a new pilot program, a team of volunteers from the hospital will now electronically report these cases on the state’s monitoring and reporting system called SARA Alert.

”We’re adjusting SARA Alert to make it useful for this situation, for this use case. Which is individuals who have called and said I just got a call from my state and my doctor in another state who told me I’m positive and these are all the people I’ve been traveling with and these are the people in my car and I want to make sure that everyone stay’s safe,” said Dr. Shah.

MDI Hospital will now report them...which will allow for monitoring the individuals and the close contacts they had while in the state.

The state currently employees 100 contact tracers and investigators.

Shah says as of Tuesday, they have received 170 positive test results from out of staters.

That’s up 11 from last week.

After several months without a positive COVID-19 test result, Mount Desert Island Hospital has resulted three new cases...

Posted by MDI Hospital on Friday, July 31, 2020

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