Building Community Support
The success of a case investigation and contact tracing program hinges on a community’s level of participation. For many community members, this may be the first time they’ve engaged with public health personnel. Jurisdictions will need to communicate clearly with the public to generate an understanding and acceptance of case investigation and contact tracing as an important way to protect friends, family, and community members from future potential infections.
A jurisdiction’s case investigation and contact tracing plan should include a communication strategy that engages community leaders and key public officials. Local community leaders, public officials, and influencers can amplify clear, empowering messages that support case investigation and contact tracing activities and encourage community members to take responsibility for their health and the health of their community by following guidance from public health agencies. Jurisdictions should consider using all available communication channels to regularly reinforce these messages including television, radio, and social media, along with official websites.
In addition to case investigation and contact tracing awareness messages, jurisdictions should develop and share messages that dispel misinformation in their community and direct the public to reliable sources. There may be concerns about COVID-19 scams, so it will be particularly important that community members know where to go for verified information. Consideration should be made to cultural sensitivity and language diversity when developing messages and outreach materials. Messages should also be tailored to reach specific audiences, including vulnerable populations within the community.