Around 5,000 people, both COVID-19 patients and people they've interacted with, have been contacted through a community tracing program that Gov. Charlie Baker said will be "a key element toward not only stopping the spread" of the contagious disease but also understanding who's been affected.

Baker on April 3 announced the launch of a new tracing program, a collaboration with the nonprofit organization Partners in Health, intended to identify the close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19, inform them of possible exposure and offer isolation resources. At the time, Baker described it as a first-in-the-nation effort and said officials hoped to have about 1,000 people working on the team by the end of the month.

Almost four weeks later, Baker said there are now "just about" 1,000 people on board.

Baker said original projections indicated that a person with COVID-19 would have 10 close contacts who needed to be reached out to, but the average number so far "is actually only two."

More on this article and more is at The Berkshire Eagle.com.