Burke explains the need for Pa. to set benchmarks for testing, contact tracing


Secretary of Health Rachel Levine speaking at a virtual press conference.


THE DAILY ITEM – Pennsylvania officials on Friday will unveil the state’s goals for coronavirus testing and contact tracing, standards the Wolf administration has so far shied away from specifying despite insisting that a robust system is key to its plan to reopen the state. Health Secretary Rachel Levine said the testing benchmark will be “aspirational,” and stressed that it will be one of many factors in deciding which counties or regions can safely begin to relax restrictions on May 8. “There will be a number of statistical and public health measures that we’ll be looking at.”

Don Burke, an epidemiologist and former dean of the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health, said the challenge for public health officials in setting benchmarks is that it’s still not well understood what percentage of the population shows no symptoms when they’re infected with the coronavirus.

In order to know how widely the population should be tested, that’s a key piece of information. 

“We are just beginning to get a clear view of the magnitude of the spread,” Burke said.

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Pa. to set benchmarks for testing, contact tracing, Angela Couloumbis and Daniel Simmons-Ritchie Spotlight PA, Apr 30, 2020


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