We’ve heard a lot about contract tracing and the difference a simple phone call can make that informs someone they may have been exposed or exposed someone to coronavirus.
Daniel Brown, a Communicable Diseases Specialist and Contact Tracer Lead with the County of Riverside says this virus is challenging to trace, “In the 17 years that I’ve been working for the county I haven’t seen anything like this because again people can get exposed to the virus two days before somebody is even showing symptoms.”
Posing another challenge is some people they call do not cooperate.
“People don’t believe that the county is going to this extent to make sure that they’re safe and healthy and they don’t believe that people that have COVID-19 or who are positive are giving their names to us,” says Brown.
Also some think it’s a scam or don’t want to give out names and phone numbers of people they exposed.
But the contact tracer will gladly help you verify they are who they say they and the service is free.
“Some of the things we do not ask for is any bank information or social security number,” says Brown.
What they do ask for is your name, birthday, symptoms and names and phone numbers of people you have exposed.
Marshare Penny, a Director of Contact Tracing with the county and Professor of Public Health says your name will not be shared with anyone not even your employer and the county will never ask for your immigration status.
“The information you provide them is private is confidential, it will not be shared with anyone else, you have somebody on the line to answer any questions,” says Marshare.
She says they are not there to judge but to help, “We don’t lay any blame we try to remove stigma, the stigma of not only having COVID but the stigma of possibly transmitting COVID to someone unintentionally.”
Brown says the most rewarding part of this job is when they save entire households, especially those with high risk loved ones from getting sick, “We’ve had families call the nurse line and thank us for giving them the heads up that they might have been exposed so that they don’t take it back to their homes or take it back to their grandparents.”
So if you get the call pick up and help.
“If we want to stop COVID, it’s really important that we all work together,” says Penny.
To get free county testing click here: Riverside County COVID-19 Testing