52% of people refuse to give information to contact tracers


Aug. 21

  • Although the number of contact tracers is increasing and the number of people contacted is increasing, 52% of the people contacted refused to cooperate and give any information to help tracers notify anyone that has been exposed to the virus. “This is not a witch hunt,” Murphy said. “Please folks, take the damn call!” He said they do not condone underage drinking or illegal activity, “but this isn’t what this is about”. Commission Judy Persichilli said that 19% of those called are not even answering. Contact tracers are calling anyone that has a positive COVID test result or anyone that has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive. She said if you are concerned if this is a scam call to hang up and call your local health department. Contact tracers will also leave a message if no one answers to the phone. Contact tracers will ask you to verify your date of birth, address, and ask about symptoms to see of you need hospitalization or seek medical attention, and who you were within 6 feet of for more than 10 minutes 2 days before your symptoms, or if you are asymptomatic, 2 days before your test result. Contact tracers can provide you with a place to stay if you cannot quarantine at home, information on employment protection, childcare, and food assistance. Contact tracers will never ask you for your social security number, financial information, or immigration status.
  • Turn around time for test results has improved with most labs in the state to less than three days. New Jersey has done 2.6 million tests with an average of 25,000 per day.
  • To be prepared for any fall or winter virus surge, the state is compiling a stockpile of PPE (personal protection equipment). For N95 masks they have 4.7 million (goal 5 million); surgical masks – 1 million with 12 million on order (goal 13 million); face shields – 1.7 million (goal 2 million); hospital gowns – 2.1 million with 1 million on order (goal 2.8 million); gloves – 1.9 million with 75 million on order (goal 1.9 million); ventilators – 1,447 with 500 ordered and 600 already in use in hospitals. Murphy said he does not want to rely on the federal government and corporations like he did this spring.
  • Murphy mentioned that there is a backlog on getting laptops to schools and he is working to get the manufacturers to “step up and step up now.” Google Chromebook and Lenova were mentioned.
  • Statewide spot positivity for tests drawn on Aug. 17 was 1.42%. In North Jersey 1.18%, Central Jersey 1%, South Jersey 2.88%. Ten of the 13 deaths listed today happened in the last 5 days. In the last 24 hours there were 11 unconfirmed suspected COVID deaths in hospitals.
  • Gym openings: When asked if he would be following the results of NY opening their gyms to determine when he would open gyms in NJ, he said the NY data is useful, “but at the end of the day, we make our decisions based on the four walls of New Jersey but that doesn’t mean again that we don’t learn from other.”

— by Karen E. Viereck, Editor/Publisher

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