Flanders will approach contact tracing to combat the coronavirus in a different way. After two years, the contract with the consortium of call centers and health insurance funds will soon expire. It will be replaced by a government application “GovApp”, complemented by a team of 30 “multifunctional agents”.
If the number of infections increases dramatically again, as many as 350 full-time liaison agents could be deployed. This is what the Flemish Agency for Health and Welfare says on Friday.
Over the past two years, Flanders has teamed up with a range of call centers and health insurance funds to trace contact – a lever in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus. In these two years, according to Zorg en Gezondheid, nearly 8 million phone calls were made, 175,000 home visits were made and nearly 2.3 million infected people were contacted and reported. However, contact tracing has been regularly criticized, just think of messages about Netflixen contact trackers at first or messages about potential billing fraud. The latter was subject to scrutiny. This audit was unable to identify fraud, but it cannot rule it out.
The contract with call centers expires on May 31. This does not mean that the investigation of the connection will stop, but Flanders wants to change the system. “We’re taking the knowledge and experience we’ve accumulated with us into a new system with a smaller team and more digital tools,” explains Joris Moonens, a spokesperson for the Health and Welfare Agency.
From now on, Flanders wants to work with the government app “GovApp”. In this app, people who have tested positive can be reached and notified. With Test and Results Management, people will be required to install the app.
For people who cannot (can) use the app, phone search and personal contact is still necessary. To this end, the Flemish government works with a team of 30 “multifunctional agents” who can call as well as come to your home.
If the infection curves again rise significantly, the goal is to strengthen the team with Flemish information line staff who can carry out telephone investigations. In this way, the number of calling agents can be increased to a maximum of 350.
A public contract will soon be issued to a team of 30 cross-functional agents, and the Flemish government can order existing contracts to cooperate with the Flemish government’s call centre.