The use of an automated web-based symptom monitoring tool as part of Maine's COVID-19 contact tracing program made the state's contact tracing and monitoring faster and more efficient.
The tool was well received, with the majority of monitored contacts (96.4%) agreeing to the automated system. Contacts automatically received daily symptom questionnaires via their choice of e-mailed weblink, test message, texted weblink, or telephone call until they completed their quarantine.
The system promptly identified COVID-19 in the monitored contacts, with 190 (11.7%) of 1,622 developing COVID-19.
Contacts who refused automated monitoring or could not be enrolled because of language barriers were monitored using direct monitoring by the contact tracing team.
Automated monitoring tools can augment traditional contact tracing, but they can't take the place of a large, trained public health workforce needed for a COVID-19 response, the authors say.