State issues contracts for managing contact tracing volunteers and technology integration in support of COVID-19 response

LANSING — The state of Michigan has approved contracts to rapidly expand Michigan’s contact tracing efforts, a critical next step in its COVID-19 response, according to state officials.

The state is partnering with Rock Connections, LLC for volunteer management and Deloitte for technology integration in support of the COVID-19 contact tracing.

“Contact tracing is a proven public health strategy and another tool we’re utilizing to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and reduce the loss of life in our state,” said Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, chief medical executive and chief deputy for health. “Our team has been working around the clock to stand up this new operation and look forward to significantly expanding the current contact tracing system in place.”

Contact tracing involves identifying individuals affected by COVID-19 and interviewing friends, families and other close contacts about their symptoms and health. Rock Connections will oversee volunteer staff who will call identified close contacts for daily check-ins. Calls will be made seven days a week for the next six to 12 months. During these calls, volunteers will provide information about steps that exposed individuals should take to monitor their health and prevent the spread of COVID-19. They will also log responses to determine if these individuals are symptomatic for COVID-19 and need to be referred to other public health teams for additional follow-up.

More than 3,500 volunteers have completed contact tracing training and are ready to begin aiding local health departments. This workforce will help speed up the process and provide support to local health departments already conducting contact tracing statewide.

Rock Connections was chosen through an evaluation team process with representatives from the Department of Technology, Management and Budget and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for the more than $1 million contract. Separately, Deloitte is providing technology integration on this project through an already established integration contract with the state. This includes an automated text messaging system that individuals can opt-in to following their initial call with a contact tracer. All vendors were approved through a State Emergency Operations Center review process.

Rock Connections has experience in the COVID-19 response, including operating a call center with 40 full-time employees at the former Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit.

To sign up to volunteer for public health efforts, visit Michigan.gov/fightcovid19.