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COVID-19 contact tracers hard at work as bridges and borders reopen
HALIFAX -- As COVID-19 restrictions and guidelines loosen across Atlantic Canada, one group of healthcare workers are staying as busy as ever.
Contract Tracers across the region have made thousands of cold calls, trying to track down the virus's whereabouts.
Now, with bridges and border's set to reopen, the small force of frontline workers are gearing up to handle those who cross with COVID-19.
"I've been doing communicable disease control now since about 2006, so, we do contact tracing all the time for a number of different communicable diseases," said Pamela Thompson-Bourque, a contact tracer with New Brunswick Public Health.
"So, that part of our work is not different. It's just the intensity and the number, and the unknown to it."
Thompson-Bourque has made thousands of phone calls, and not always delivering the best news.
"A lot of times it's cold calls and just not knowing what that reception will be like on the other end," said Thompson-Bourque.
"But it's such important work, it's critical to what we do, in terms of, especially COVID, around prompt recording of cases, the follow up that needs to be done, identifying other symptomatic individuals."
In New Brunswick, contact tracers have traced the virus to other countries or provinces and discovered if a person had two contacts, to fourty contacts.
As provinces plan for the Atlantic Bubble in one week, there is more risk.
"We will be collecting travellers information so we can conduct contact tracing in the event of an outbreak," said New Brunswick Premier, Blaine Higgs in an interview on Wednesday.
Thompson-Bourque said although the job can be overwhelming at times, it's all worth it in the end.
"I think for me, Some of those moments when you saw the case numbers drop off, and no new cases, and the less, no new contacts, you know, that was a good feeling," said Thompson-Bourque.
Horizon Health says its team of contact tracers are ready to go.