ND Health Officials say that many aren’t cooperating with contact tracing efforts

Published: Sep. 30, 2020 at 7:24 PM CDT
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FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) - With COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in North Dakota, one issue that health officials are dealing with is people not cooperating with Contact Tracing.

This tool, which officials use to notify people that they were in close contact with someone who had the illness, has been widely used since the Pandemic hit North Dakota but not everyone is helping the process.

“We definitely have seen an increase in non-compliance.” said Brenton Nesemeier, a Field Epidemiologist in Fargo for the North Dakota Department of Health.

The Contact Tracing process relies heavily on the person who has tested positive for COVID-19. Once they are alerted of the positive result, traces then contact the person who tested positive.

They then ask them for the contact information for anyone who may have been around them for the 48 hours prior to their symptoms showing up.

Once they have that list of contacts, they reach out to those individuals who may have been exposed so they can get tested or go into quarantine.

Cooperation is the key to this process and when officials don’t get help from the person who tested positive, it creates a massive roadblock for Contact Tracers.

“Most of the time people are being honest and giving us truthful information but it’s the ones who are a little bit harder to work with that stick out." said Nesemeier, "They might not even tell us all their contacts, which is super important because we potentially need to get those people into quarantine so that we can stop the spread.”

Nesemeier also says that those who are worried about giving their information out don’t have anything to fear when it comes to contact tracing.

“We are bound my privacy and federal laws and we can lose our jobs. We can get fined. It’s not something that we want to mess around with. Just know that your information is protected and it’s not going to go anywhere further than you and your contact tracer.”

He also emphasized how important of a tool Contact Tracing is in the fight against COVID-19, saying that “The more that we cooperate, the shorter we’ll have to put up with it.”

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