Trace team tracks COVID-19 cases


As the world adjusts to life with COVID-19, the U.S. Army Europe community works to curb the virus’ effects in its footprint. On the frontline of the effort is the Trace Team.

“The community has been so welcoming, patient, responsive; just great,” Lt. Col. Derrick Carter, the officer in charge of Trace Team One, said. “It helps make our job so much easier.”

Carter is part of the dedicated crew of individuals working to locate and assist individuals who have or may have come into contact with COVID-19.


Evan Ruchotzke/7th MPAD
Members of Trace Team One work together to track the spread of COVID-19 at U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden, April 8. Five trace teams work together to monitor community members who have been tested for the virus and to assist them with their quarantine.

“There’s five teams including this one in the footprint,” Carter said. “Three here on Clay Kaserne and two on Hainerberg.

“Today, right now and every day, we’re trying to flatten the curve,” he said. “So we’re trying to prevent the spread of COVID-19. But we’re also trying to predict how it will spread — and eventually, hopefully, eradicate it.”

“In the trace team you have, basically, four different functions,” Carter said. “There’s the call center which takes in urgent calls and inquiries from the hotline.”

The COVID-19 hotline is available at DSN: 548-8990 or 49(0)611 143 548-8990.

“From there it goes to two separate teams who do in-depth tracing if the individual has symptoms,” Carter said. “Interviews can take 45 minutes to an hour and they look for the level of symptoms and their persistence, and who all they’ve been around.

“Testing is handled by another team that takes care of scheduling and notifications in terms of positive and negative,” he said.

“The fourth arm is the quarantine function where we take care of symptoms and those individuals will get daily call backs,” Carter said. “Everyone has to do their part. Thus far the community’s effort has been tremendous. We need to put up a unified front.”

Katie Cerra, a physical therapist who volunteers with Trace Team One through the Red Cross, said accuracy of information is one of the main problems facing the Trace Team currently.

“People’s phone numbers are often incomplete, or illegible on their intake forms,” Cerra said. “If we can’t reach out, we can’t trace the individuals with symptoms or people who may have been in contact those who have.”

“When filling out any form, please make sure your handwriting is legible,” Cerra said. “Double check your phone numbers so we can begin the tracing process.”

“Stay home as much as possible and stay safe,” she said before returning to work.

“We’re in this together, so stay encouraging,” Carter said. “If someone isn’t doing the right thing, maybe they just didn’t understand the guidance. Approach them diplomatically. It’s going to take us all working together with a synchronized effort to ensure we make it through this.

“If we make the sacrifices we need to today we’re going to have a better tomorrow,” he said.

For more information on COVID-19, please visit www.coronavirus.gov.

To see what the U.S. Government is doing about COVID-19, go to www.usa.gov/coronavirus.