COVID-19

COVID patients not cooperating with contact tracers

Coronavirus cases are rising, and state officials are concerned because many people won't answer questions.

State health officials are distressed. About a third of people infected with COVID-19 refuse to tell contact tracers who they’ve come into contact with. That undermines a key component of the state’s efforts to contain the spread of the disease.

The state’s chief medical executive, Dr. Joneigh Khaldun, brought up those concerns during a press conference Wednesday. She said contact tracers can only reach about 70% of those infected within 48 hours of a positive test result. Of those, only two-thirds agree to provide information.

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Epidemiologists point to contact tracing as a crucial component of keeping the pandemic in check, especially as we face an increase in new cases.

Most contact tracers are employees of the state’s 45 public health departments. Bridge Magazine reports another 422 trained volunteers are also at work, with another 10,000 people at the ready to help out should the need arise.

All that is for naught if people won’t respond to their calls.

“This case investigation and contact tracing work is so important if we’re going to be able to successfully slow the spread of the disease in our state,” said Khaldun.

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