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(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today is applauding the teams that developed Connecticut’s contact tracing platform, ContaCT, on winning a State IT Recognition Award last night by the National Association of State Chief Information Officers in acknowledgement of the system’s development. The award was presented during the organization’s annual conference.
ContaCT was developed in the spring of 2020 during the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognizing that Connecticut’s most recent contact tracing system for vaccine preventable diseases – which included an antiquated paper-based process with spreadsheets to manage cases – was not up to the task of handling the volume of cases and contacts that COVID-19 was anticipated to produce, Governor Lamont directed an enterprise system be developed. The goal was to create a system that integrates with existing surveillance systems, facilitates real-time information sharing among health partners, enables sharing of contact tracers between state and local efforts, positions the state to quickly step in to help local health departments that became overwhelmed, and automates case and contact interviews to improve speed and efficiency.
In May 2020, using the governor’s emergency procurement authority, leaders from the Connecticut Department of Public Health and Connecticut Department of Administrative Services reviewed a dozen potential solutions in one weekend, contracted with the preferred solution in a week, and deployed Microsoft’s At Risk Identification Alert System. The cloud-based system, branded ContaCT, launched quickly with basic functionality and continued to improve during the summer.
The agile development process allowed the state to incrementally roll out functionality and address shifting priorities and functional needs. Within weeks, all 64 local health departments in Connecticut and the Connecticut Department of Public Health were using the same platform in a unique and successful state and local collaboration.
As a result of the system’s development, more than 250,000 individuals to date have been provided instructions for how to keep themselves and their families safe and prevent further spread of COVID-19, and connect them with resources they may need to stay safe.
“Our contact tracing effort is a truly remarkable example of how our agencies and staff with different areas of expertise rose to meet the challenge we faced during the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Governor Lamont said. “ContaCT is a tool we continue to use and improve upon as we transform to develop a fully digital government. I couldn’t be prouder that our team here in Connecticut has been honored with this award. This is an example of why Connecticut is doing such a great job in combating this crisis, including with our highest in the nation vaccination rates.”
“Even one more person who stays home because of a successful contact tracing conversation can prevent dozens of infections,” Connecticut Public Health Commissioner Dr. Manisha Juthani said. “This team has made more than 320,000 calls to date. I know this tool will continue to be helpful to us as we continue to fight this pandemic. It has helped us identify clusters of cases, thereby protecting many other Connecticut residents. I am thrilled to have joined a team that’s leading the country in public health response and use of technology. I encourage our residents to answer the phone and have the conversation if a contact tracer calls you. We’re here to help, and you can protect your friends, family and community by having a conversation about next steps.”
“This has been an amazing team to work with throughout the last year and a half,” Connecticut Social Services Commissioner and Senior Advisor for Health and Human Services Dr. Deidre Gifford said. “This tool was built with incredible urgency, understanding every conversation was paramount to protecting our residents. This recognition is very well deserved by our team, and I look forward to seeing what solutions they bring to the table next.”
“Technology can do more than just enhance convenience, it can save lives,” Connecticut Administrative Services Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer Josh Geballe said. “This public-private partnership between our information technology and public health teams and nonprofit and private sector partners is an example of the impact we can have working together across organizational boundaries, using modern technology, to solve difficult problems. The nationally recognized ContaCT platform is just one such example of Governor Lamont’s comprehensive pandemic response that has resulted in the lowest case rates and the highest vaccination rates in the nation.”
“Connecticut continues to demonstrate an innovative spirit to solve complex challenges by applying the right set of technologies through a great set of people and partners,” Connecticut Chief Information Officer Mark Raymond said. “We are honored to be recognized for our work on this efficient, secure and effective system.”
The following video about the team’s work developing ContaCT was played last night during the National Association of Chief Information Officers conference:
For more information about Connecticut’s nomination and the development of ContaCT, click here.
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