TRENTON (WCBS 880) — Gov. Phil Murphy on Friday urged New Jersey residents to cooperate with the state’s contact tracers.
New Jersey’s rate of transmission sits at 1.08%, but the positivity rate on Sept. 7 was around 2.6%, according to the governor.
Those who test positive for the virus are meant to work with contact tracers, who will then work to find people who were potentially exposed to the virus through contact with that individual.
However, Gov. Murphy says a majority of residents are refusing to cooperate with the state’s roughly 1,800 contact tracers.
He suggested people are worried that the tracers might pass information along to law enforcement, particularly for those associated with underage drinking parties, but reassured residents that was not the case.
“Our contact tracers only job is to protect public health, the questions they ask are basic,” the governor said on Friday.
The Democrat added: “While we do not ever condone illegal behavior, for instance underage drinking – we don’t condone that, this is not about stuff like that. This is about public health. It’s not a witch hunt.”
Gov. Murphy says around 82% of people in New Jersey answer the initial call from contact tracers. However, 59% refuse to cooperate and provide more contacts.
He urged New Jerseyans to pick up the phone and protect their communities from the virus.
“We need you folks to cooperate,” Muprhy said.
On Friday, New Jersey reported 518 new coronavirus cases and nine deaths, bringing the statewide total number of cases to 195,888 and the death toll to 14,234.
The state is also investigated 1,789 probable COVID-19 deaths.