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LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Health officials in Los Angeles County have been ramping up contact tracing in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Radhika Kumar, a public health specialist with the county, is one of the now 1,500 contact tracers in the county. (Credit: CBSLA)

Radhika Kumar, a public health specialist with the county, is one of the now 1,500 contact tracers in the county — most of whom are city and county employees — calling Angelenos who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who might have been exposed.

“Sometimes they are expecting the call, sometimes they are not expecting the call,” Kumar said. “So, it’s very important that, within the first few minutes, to make sure that we build a rapport.”

Tracers are given interview scripts based on various scenarios when they start, including how to start the conversation with someone who might have been exposed.

“We’ll say, ‘You may have some into contact with someone who tested positive, so here are some of the things that we need for you to do to make sure we’re curbing that infection,'” Kumar said.

RELATED: Coronavirus Cases, Hospitalizations Continue To Climb In LA County

For those who have tested positive, Kumar said tracers talk about the person’s symptoms, contacts with people and where they had been leading up to their diagnosis.

Health officials said they now ask if the person has been in ride shares, has traveled through airports and whether there was potential exposure through work or family members.

“We are very, very careful to make sure that information remains confidential,” Kumar said. “That is a very important part of what we do.”

Officials also said education was a key part of what tracers do.

For those who have symptoms, tracers tell them to isolate until their fever has been gone for three days, their respiratory symptoms improve and it has been at least 10 days since their first symptom.

For those who test positive, but do not have symptoms, tracers tell them to stay home for at least 10 days after taking the test. If they develop symptoms during that time, they are advised to follow the above protocol.

“The goal is to get close to 3,000 contact tracers for L.A. County just to keep up with the increase in cases and make sure that we have adequate numbers of people to make phone calls to people diagnosed with COVID and all of their contacts,” Dr. Sonali Kulkarni said.

Kulkarni is the medical director of L.A. County’s division of HIV and STD programs. She has now been tasked with helping to manage the COVID-19 contact tracing efforts.

She said collecting health information is always sensitive, so the tracers hired have to be good listeners and not pass judgement.

“If they do share that they did something that may be not appropriately socially distanced, we don’t provide judgement or do anything to sort of make them feel bad about that,” she said.

Calls will either come from an 866 number or will come through as L.A. County Health on caller ID, and health officials say answering the phone, or returning missed calls, is important to the effort to prevent further spread of COVID-19.

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Photos: The best of Top Ranks Mikey Williams in summer series

Rob Kardashian Shares Adorable Photo of Daughter Dream with Her Cousins Saint, Chicago and True Forget earnings season. What’s the rest of 2020 going to look like? Photos: The best of Top Ranks Mikey Williams in summer series

The still photographs you’ve seen of the Top Rank Boxing on ESPN summer series have been the work of one man.

© Provided by Boxing Junkie

Mikey Williams, Top Rank’s house photojournalist, has been the only active photographer of live action in the U.S. since boxing returned from its coronavirus-related hiatus last month.

The cards have taken place twice a week in a tightly controlled bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, meaning Williams has been a busy man.

“Being the only boxing photographer back hasn’t really crossed my mind,” Williams told Boxing Junkie. “Our team has been working very hard and focused to produce quality work into the production, and I’m very lucky and appreciative to be back working doing what I love.

“Photographers from across the sports world, like NBA photographer Andy Bernstein, Dodgers photographer Jon SooHoo, Rams photographer Jeff Lewis, have been very supportive and I hope my buddies will also soon be returning to their jobs and doing what they love as well.”

Williams hasn’t been allowed to work on the ring apron, as he normally would, because of coronavirus restrictions. That has made his job more difficult.

“Not being able to be on the apron brings a new set of challenges,” he said. “Protocol suggests we remain 6 feet from ring. For me, shooting in between ropes with lights lower than normal made it very difficult to cover the action from the floor as fighters circled the ring. I found the best position to cover the action was to share a platform with ESPN videographers, which is slightly above the top ropes, and use a telephoto lens because I was now 12 feet from ring.

“It’s a new angle and brings a different perspective to boxing, and I’m adapting to it. When we look back at these moments years from now, the images themselves will tell a story of boxing during a pandemic. Shooting from a distance with ropes in the foreground. Cornermen and referees with masks on. Action shots with NO fans in the background.

“It is also important to note what’s not being photographed. Intimate shots of the fighters as they are being introduced or victory shots of them celebrating with their teams will be missed, but that too is part of the story inside the bubble.”

These times are also a challenge for Williams for personal reasons.

“I’m a hugger,” he said, “so the biggest limitation for me is not being able to show my people love by giving hugs!”

Here are just a handful of the images Williams has produced since boxing returned on June 9.


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