Contact tracing program having trouble getting people to ID people they may have infected

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Assistant Health Secretary Dr. Alex Billioux says the state is having some difficulties getting answers from its COVID contact tracing program. He says first off the recent explosion in cases is making it tough to get to people in a timely manner. And…

“Labs are not giving us enough data to contact people, so there is still a proportion of people, a little bit under a third, where we get that test result and we do not know how to contact those people,” said Billioux

And Billioux says when they can get in contact with a confirmed COVID-positive person, most of them are not telling tracers who they may have infected.

“Nearly 70 percent or more are telling us that they do not have contacts that qualify. We define contacts as being within six feet of someone for more than 15 minutes, regardless of whether you are wearing a facemask covering or not,” sais Billioux.

Despite these difficulties, Billioux says the program is still a success and providing useful information for health officials.

“Part of the way that we were able to identify that bars were a problem and take actions that have likely saved people from infections and likely saved lives is from the information we received through contact tracing,” said Billioux.

To help their contact tracing efforts Billioux says the state is planning on rolling out a contact tracing app for voluntary use.