www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/20153-nsc-and-partners-call-on-governors-to-collaborate-with-business-leaders-on-covid-19-testing-contact-tracing
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NSC and partners call on governors and business leaders to collaborate on COVID-19 testing, contact tracing

July 29, 2020

Itasca, IL — The National Safety Council and 48 partner organizations are calling on governors and business leaders to develop consistent protocols for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, saying streamlined leadership will help reduce the risk of additional infections and economic shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter sent July 24 to National Governors Association Chair Larry Hogan (R-MD) and Vice Chair Andrew Cuomo (D-NY), the group writes that because up to 80% of individuals with COVID-19 are either asymptomatic or exhibit only mild symptoms, “knowledge that people are infected is key.”

Once information is gathered, a means for mitigating further spread of the illness is contact tracing, a disease control measure used to identify, support and monitor individuals potentially exposed to a person infected with the coronavirus.

The letter invites governors and business leaders to collaborate with leaders in safety, public health, health care and industry to develop “a commonsense approach that uniformly implements known best practices” for virus control.

“State leadership is needed to expand testing systems, collect community results and data in a manner that maximizes safety and health, and organize contact tracing crews,” the letter states. “Working directly with employers will drastically increase the speed and efficiency of these efforts.” In addition, the letter urges state leaders to develop clear and consistent guidance on wearing facial coverings in business and public settings.

“If testing and contact tracing are not part of return-to-the-workplace efforts, workers are being needlessly exposed to risk,” NSC President and CEO Lorraine M. Martin said in a July 24 press release. “Testing, tracing and facial coverings are critical to preventing another nationwide shutdown. Our economic recovery depends on an effective response, and we need state officials and businesses to lead.”

NSC recently released an issue paper on contact tracing as part of its SAFER: Safe Actions for Employee Returns initiative.