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Stories from a Contact Tracer
Old 08-08-2020, 01:16 PM   #1
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Stories from a Contact Tracer

I have a friend who has been employed as a Covid contact tracer for our local health department. I recently spoke with her by phone and asked her how the job was going and she told me the following:

Some of the Covid clusters are caused by things such as superspreader events and from public places such as restaurants but the vast majority are spread among family members--either in a household or families who don't live together getting together for a meal or an event. Funerals are big super spreader events in our area. She said one of the most common spreading events is when a families share a house on vacation.

She is only able to reach about 75% of the people she is trying to contact. About 25% of people do not call back even though she leaves a voicemail and calls repeatedly over a 2 week period.

When someone tests positive she asks them for a list of people they have been in close contact with over the prior 2 weeks. Some people refuse to give this information. Some people can remember who they were in contact with a few days ago but cannot remember 2 weeks back. Some people say they have not been in contact with anyone (usually this is an obvious falsehood).

Some people who test positive have been in contact with a hundred or more people over the last 2 weeks. Young people especially often give a list of contacts that is pages long. This is almost impossible to trace.

People who have test positive are required by the Health Department to quarantine for 14 days or until they test negative twice. The tracers call people to make sure they are doing OK and are in quarantine for the required period. About 10% of positive people do not stay in quarantine as required and there is no real enforcement to make them do so.
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Old 08-08-2020, 01:23 PM   #2
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Sounds like a waste of time and money.
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Old 08-08-2020, 02:00 PM   #3
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Sounds like a waste of time and money.
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Old 08-08-2020, 03:00 PM   #4
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I'm glad contact tracers are trying. It's good to know there's a real effort. Must be frustrating for your friend. I'm sticking to my plan...everyone has Covid, except my husband. It's up to me to protect myself.

I refused to go to a family gathering last Sunday night. No masks required, about 15 people, kids too. All ate outside but you get the food inside, so milling around the kitchen. Sorry. Maybe next year.
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Old 08-08-2020, 04:17 PM   #5
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I'm glad contact tracers are trying. It's good to know there's a real effort. Must be frustrating for your friend. I'm sticking to my plan...everyone has Covid, except my husband. It's up to me to protect myself.

I refused to go to a family gathering last Sunday night. No masks required, about 15 people, kids too. All ate outside but you get the food inside, so milling around the kitchen. Sorry. Maybe next year.
Rianne, I am doing the same--a doctor friend told me to do that--assume everyone except your immediate household has Covid and act accordingly. When you declined to go to the family gathering did you get hassled about it? I did. In fact I am now finding out there have been several family gatherings (which included my 89 year old mother!) and no one told me about them because they knew I would try to talk them out of it!

The thing that the contact tracer told me that bothers me the most--so many people who have tested positive are refusing to quarantine. In my opinion those people should be jailed or at least required to wear an ankle monitor.
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Old 08-08-2020, 05:44 PM   #6
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Rianne, I am doing the same--a doctor friend told me to do that--assume everyone except your immediate household has Covid and act accordingly. When you declined to go to the family gathering did you get hassled about it? I did. In fact I am now finding out there have been several family gatherings (which included my 89 year old mother!) and no one told me about them because they knew I would try to talk them out of it!
That really bugs me - people are so stubborn about getting together. Are the risks simply invisible?

I guess your 89 year old mother may have decided she’s old enough and isn’t willing to stay isolated at the end of her life.
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Old 08-08-2020, 06:19 PM   #7
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I am watching commentary on the Sturgis event in SD. Attendees being interviewed are not only NOT socially distancing, but stating that they would not quarentine if testing positive for Coronovirus.
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Old 08-08-2020, 06:30 PM   #8
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Yeah - there is definitely an element that couldn't care less if they spread it to others. Of course the bikers are probably being extra obnoxious for notoriety's sake. They just want to sound tough and devil-may-care to impress their peers.

We had to get something at a local ACE hardware store and boy do we regret it. No one working in the store work masks, neither did the vast majority of their customers. No social distancing. It's a cramped little store. We couldn't find what they said they had on the phone. Older man (probably owner) comes by asks if we need help. We should have said NO!!! Long discussion ensues in the slow southern style - at least he spoke quietly, but it took at while and we kept trying to back up but were kind of trapped. Couldn't get out of there fast enough!

Gosh - these small town mom-and-pop local places really don't think it's going to affect them or their customers! Absolutely clueless - just unreal. There are cases in the county. It's just a matter of time.

Thank goodness Walmart requires masks and lays things out for social distancing.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:35 PM   #9
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Gosh - theses small town mom-and-pop local places really don't think it's going to affect them or their customers! Absolutely clueless - just unreal. There are cases in the county. It's just a matter of time.

Thank goodness Walmart requires masks and lays things out for social distancing.
Come on up to DeKalb County, there is a mask mandate here. I am telling you, the way most of this state and Georgia governor are handling this situation makes me want to move back to NJ. I never thought I would say that. I just find this unfathomable.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:36 PM   #10
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That really bugs me - people are so stubborn about getting together. Are the risks simply invisible?

I guess your 89 year old mother may have decided she’s old enough and isn’t willing to stay isolated at the end of her life.
I am not sure my 89 year old mother really understands the risks. When I talked to mother about the family get together (after it had occurred, I was not told about it prior to the event) she said my sister told her not to worry-- it was very safe ( a group of 10 eating at my sister's house inside--doesn't sound safe to me). This is exactly the kind of thing the contract tracer says is spreading the virus.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:42 PM   #11
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I am not sure my 89 year old mother really understands the risks. When I talked to mother about the family get together (after it had occurred, I was not told about it prior to the event) she said my sister told her not to worry-- it was very safe ( a group of 10 eating at my sister's house inside--doesn't sound safe to me). This is exactly the kind of thing the contract tracer says is spreading the virus.
I see, so sorry your mother doesn’t really understand what is going on.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:46 PM   #12
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Come on up to DeKalb County, there is a mask mandate here. I am telling you, the way most of this state and Georgia governor are handling this situation makes me want to move back to NJ. I never thought I would say that. I just find this unfathomable.
DB is in your county. Glad you have a mask mandate. I noticed for this small county, cases per 100K are about middling for the state, but >40% of the cases occurred in the past two weeks! So on the GA county map it’s got a dark orange color.
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Old 08-08-2020, 07:52 PM   #13
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I noticed for this small county, cases per 100K are about middling for the state, but >40% of the cases occurred in the past two weeks! So on the GA county map it’s got a dark orange color.
Not good. Glad you are able to stay on the farm, and at least you can feel safe at Walmart.
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:16 PM   #14
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That’s really interesting harilee, thanks for sharing. My mom just turned 80 and didn’t seem to get it either, I think because the people around her were being so lax. I think I finally got through to her when I said if she kept going the way she was, she was going to die alone and never see her grandkids again. And explained that she’s taking risks that we, many years younger, would never take. The family peer pressure is hard though.

We considered moving to the southeast when we were looking at where to settle. I have to say, this whole experience has made me very happy we decided to stay in CA, despite some of the issues here. I would not deal well with retail locations not being masked.
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Old 08-08-2020, 08:55 PM   #15
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Old 08-08-2020, 09:19 PM   #16
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One problem that must be hard for the tracers to overcome is trust by the people they are trying to contact. I can honestly say I never answer my phone for a phone number I don't know. Further if someone left a message saying they were a contract tracer and wanted me to call back I'm not sure I would with the amount of fraud out there. It's a sad reality.
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Old 08-08-2020, 10:17 PM   #17
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I'm glad contact tracers are trying. It's good to know there's a real effort. Must be frustrating for your friend. I'm sticking to my plan...everyone has Covid, except my husband. It's up to me to protect myself.

I refused to go to a family gathering last Sunday night. No masks required, about 15 people, kids too. All ate outside but you get the food inside, so milling around the kitchen. Sorry. Maybe next year.
We have gone to a couple of gatherings, our personal rules are masks, social distancing, no going inside, and no eating. If we think we will be hungry we bring our own food or and do not share it, or eat ahead of the event. The presence of shared food and/or drink seems to be one key factor in covid spreads.
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Old 08-09-2020, 01:59 AM   #18
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Yeah - there is definitely an element that couldn't care less if they spread it to others. Of course the bikers are probably being extra obnoxious for notoriety's sake. They just want to sound tough and devil-may-care to impress their peers.

We had to get something at a local ACE hardware store and boy do we regret it. No one working in the store work masks, neither did the vast majority of their customers. No social distancing. It's a cramped little store. We couldn't find what they said they had on the phone. Older man (probably owner) comes by asks if we need help. We should have said NO!!! Long discussion ensues in the slow southern style - at least he spoke quietly, but it took at while and we kept trying to back up but were kind of trapped. Couldn't get out of there fast enough!

Gosh - these small town mom-and-pop local places really don't think it's going to affect them or their customers! Absolutely clueless - just unreal. There are cases in the county. It's just a matter of time.

Thank goodness Walmart requires masks and lays things out for social distancing.
So why did you stay/shop there? It’s not like there aren’t alternatives to Ace, Home Depot and Lowe’s do require masks and distancing of employees and customers.

When we run into merchants or services who clearly aren’t serious about pandemic precautions, we leave immediately and take our business elsewhere. There are a couple formerly favorite local merchants we used to support who may never see us again.
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Old 08-09-2020, 03:46 AM   #19
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So why did you stay/shop there? It’s not like there aren’t alternatives to Ace, Home Depot and Lowe’s do require masks and distancing of employees and customers.

When we run into merchants or services who clearly aren’t serious about pandemic precautions, we leave immediately and take our business elsewhere. There are a couple formerly favorite local merchants we used to support who may never see us again.
Alternatives - not without driving another 35 miles due to the tiny town and we needed it immediately. We thought they had what we needed as we had called ahead to check. We thought we could grab and go quickly until we couldn’t find the item. We were OK until they wanted to “help”. But no, we will not return.
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Old 08-09-2020, 03:51 AM   #20
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I passed on attending a funeral of a friend last Friday out of caution for being in a crowd. The family indicated it would be a covid safe activity. Pictures showed everyone wearing masks, but it was indoors and about 30 present at a time. Hugging and crying, standing close in line to pay respects to family. I hate this disease and social distancing.
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