Half of people are not cooperating with Montgomery County contact tracers

Half of people are not cooperating with Montgomery County contact tracers

MONTGOMERY COUNTY — As Ohio’s COVID numbers keep rising, there are also people not cooperating with contact tracers.

“The one piece of solid evidence that we have is that when someone is diagnosed with this disease, we know that is a potential source for other infections,” Dr. Michael Dohm, the medical director for Public Health – Dayton and Montgomery County said.

He said 50 percent of the people contact tracers reach out to do not cooperate.

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That includes those who have tested positive and those who may have been exposed.

“I think it’s discouraging. People are doing the job because they realize the value in trying to disrupt the transmission patterns and stop the cycle of increasing disease,” Dohm said.

Though the process aims to help, Ohio’s coronavirus website says scammers posting as contact tracers have been targeting Ohioans making some skeptical of answering the phone.

Dohm said there are ways to tell that the call is coming from a legitimate source. First, people who receive a call from the health department can always call back. Second, the agency will leave voicemails, something scammers generally do not do.

“The other thing is we’re not asking for social security numbers. We’re not saying you need to pay money. We’re just trying to get information,” Dohm said.

For those who have tested positive, that includes questions about symptoms, where they may have picked up the virus, and people they may have exposed. Then, the contact tracers will reach out to those people letting them know about potential exposures without revealing names. However, they will ask about any potential symptoms.

“Try to give them a sense of what the risk might be and help them to find ways that they can then be responsible in terms of not passing it on,” Dohm said.

He said the agency has about 50 contact tracers working every day. However, the department still has a backlog of cases and therefore may take two to three days to reach people.