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What’s it like being a contact tracer?

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That involves some digging on Kot’s part.

“We are trying to search,” she said.

Kot will receive information about a case and speak to the person who has contracted the virus to determine what kind of contact they’ve had with others over the previous 14 days.

“Usually it involves a bit of a lengthy interview with the person who has COVID-19, discussing with them not only what having COVID-19 means but what the implications could be for various people they may have come in contact with,” she said.

Friends, family members, co-workers and other members of a person’s community could all have been exposed when one person contracts COVID-19.

“Some people are very good historians and some it takes a bit of time to gain that trust before you can get the whole story,” Kot said. “I would be the same way if I was in their shoes. I might not remember where I was seven days ago and who I was with.”

Kot said it is not unusual for her to call someone a second time, just to clarify their contacts or give someone time to remember where they’ve been.

“I’m very impressed. A lot of people have given us very good, valuable information to go on,” she said.

Once she receives a list of names from the individual with COVID, Kot sets out to determine what contact would have occurred and determine if the person needs to self-monitor or self-isolate, or whether the contact is of no concern.

“I think sometimes there is a little bit of the fear factor there for people but most people have been, I would say, very accommodating, very appreciative and very co-operative. People have really helped us out a lot,” Kot said.

“Certainly some people are a little bit annoyed but I always reassure people and say it’s kind of a good thing when you’ve been named as a contact because you get the benefit of receiving the information from public health that you maybe need to stay isolated.”

Kot said there is no average day on the job for her since the pandemic started.

“There isn’t an average day. You come into work, you see what’s on the agenda and you just sort of go to work,” Kot explained. “It’s really an interesting job.

“The actual cases of COVID-19 come in sporadically. We’ve been lucky here in Regina and the surrounding area, we haven’t had too many cases … In a given day, we may not be doing contact tracing so much as maybe dealing with the actual contacts on a daily basis. It’s a variety.”

Kot says a lot of her knowledge and experience as a public health nurse helps her in her work as a viral investigator.

“I have a fair amount of experience dealing with different types of diseases and this is just another one that we add into the bag and do the best of our ability to try and help people through it, and with a large degree of confidentiality …,” she said. “People need that. They need to know that their information is safe.

“Certainly every once in a while a call comes along that you sometimes need to gain people’s trust and give them a little bit of reassurance. Their world has kind of been turned upside down by this phone call and we’re going to help get you through this.”

Most of the time, Kot says people take her calls very well and are often appreciative.

“I have to give people credit. They have done a very good job. They often pull out their calendar and they give us the best information that they can to try and remember. And sometimes the next day we get a little bit more information because they’ve had a chance to think about it and I think that’s a fair way to do things,” she said.

One challenge Kot says contact tracers face is the volume of work.

“The ebb and flow of communicable disease control is not controllable,” she said. “It just happens when it happens and so sometimes the days just get very long but they’re very rewarding, too.”

Kot loves the feeling at the end of the day when she’s finished her list of calls.

“(It’s rewarding) when you complete a day and you manage to get through all of your contacts and everyone knows what they’re supposed to be doing and the community is hopefully a bit safer at the end of the day,” she said.

Currently, Kot says viral investigators are anticipating the start of the school year, though they don’t expect any dramatic increases in work due to students heading back to class.

“We’re always busier when school starts so I don’t think we’ll be all that different with COVID-19, but definitely the type of work that we’ll be doing will probably revolve around that,” she said.

While times may be trying, Kot said she feels lucky to work as a viral investigator.

“I love the work, definitely,” she said. “You get a chance to meet people from all walks of life and families and communities.”

She wants to remind people that should they ever be on the receiving end of a call from a contact tracer, it’s to help them.

“We’re full of people who are interested in hearing what you have to say and our goal is to try and keep people safe and minimize risk,” she said. “If you get a call from us, we’re hopeful that we can help you.”

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Manitoba murder trial to continue with 11 jurors after one shows COVID-19 symptoms. – Nanaimo News NOW

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Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews told the jury Thursday he received advice from public health that it is safe and prudent to continue.

Toews says even if the juror tests positive, it doesn’t mean the remaining jurors would need to self-isolate given the steps taken in court, which include physical distancing.

“It is not prudent to wait any longer,” said Toews.

Moar, 23, is accused of killing Hibi at the foster home he ran for boys.

Jury trials were suspended across the country in the spring as the justice system grappled with how to handle the pandemic.

They resumed in Manitoba earlier this month with Moar’s trial.

The court put several protocols in place. Jury selections have been held in a large convention centre, there has been physical distancing in courtrooms and masks became mandatory after an employee at the Winnipeg courthouse tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Toews said Wednesday that he was optimistic that jurors would soon hear his charge in the case before beginning deliberations on a verdict. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

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Manitoba murder trial to continue with 11 jurors after one shows COVID-19 symptoms. – rdnewsnow.com

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Queen’s Bench Justice Vic Toews told the jury Thursday he received advice from public health that it is safe and prudent to continue.

Toews says even if the juror tests positive, it doesn’t mean the remaining jurors would need to self-isolate given the steps taken in court, which include physical distancing.

“It is not prudent to wait any longer,” said Toews.

Moar, 23, is accused of killing Hibi at the foster home he ran for boys.

Jury trials were suspended across the country in the spring as the justice system grappled with how to handle the pandemic.

They resumed in Manitoba earlier this month with Moar’s trial.

The court put several protocols in place. Jury selections have been held in a large convention centre, there has been physical distancing in courtrooms and masks became mandatory after an employee at the Winnipeg courthouse tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

Toews said Wednesday that he was optimistic that jurors would soon hear his charge in the case before beginning deliberations on a verdict. (CTV Winnipeg, The Canadian Press)

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 24, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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COVID-19: Gov. says parties, weddings, gatherings putting people at risk – Saskatoon StarPhoenix

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Article content continued

The province has only issued such fines four times since a state of emergency was declared in March. Two were for people who failed to self-isolate while they had COVID-19. A third was for the host of a large gathering in Saskatoon attended by more than 40 people, which has since been linked to more than 21 cases. A fourth was for a business that was charged $14,000 for operating despite restrictions ordered by the province.

Premier Scott Moe has recently warned that tougher fines may result for people who either blatantly put others at risk or host gatherings that flout public health orders. The maximum allowed at an indoor gathering is 30 people, and only if there is room for each of them to be six feet apart.

The province reported five cases of COVID-19 and eight recoveries on Thursday. Two of the new cases are in the Saskatoon area and one each are in the central west, Regina and south central regions.

The province also reported that 24 schoolchildren tested positive for COVID-19 between Sept. 14 and 20, the first full week of in-person instruction since classes were moved online near the end of the last school year.

The province said 4,106 children and youth were tested last week, mostly in Saskatoon (1,598) and Regina (825).

Thirteen of the kids who tested positive were in Saskatoon, five were in Regina and three each live in the central and south zones of the province.

There are currently 130 known cases that are considered active in Saskatchewan, eight of whom are receiving in-patient hospital care.

Since March, 1,835 cases have been reported in the province.

On Wednesday the province tested 1,578 people for the virus.

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