MIAMI VALLEY, Ohio (WDTN) – Contact tracers call people who have tested positive for COVID-19 or people who have come in close contact with a positive COVID-19 case.
However, they say public distrust and misinformation are keeping them from being able to do their job to the fullest extent at times.
They want the public to know that answering their calls, and giving honest answers can help fight the spread of COVID-19 in communities.
“I understand that its probably a little bit weird to have a stranger calling you and asking about your health but give us a chance,” said Daniel Parschaeur a contact tracer and pharmacy student at Cedarville University “You might be positive and not know it and be spreading it to your friends and family, or you might be spreading it to people you really care about or [even] to strangers.”
If you’re feeling hesitant about trusting a contact tracer with your information, pay close attention to the questions that they ask. Contact tracers say they’re only interested in learning more about your symptoms and health, not any other sensitive information.
“We’ll ask for address and phone numbers and emails but nothing that would make them unsafe or their identity unsafe,” said Joel Sweeney, contact tracing team lead and Cedarville pharmacy student.
Sweeney says they also use closed loop phone and data systems that keep all information confidential when shared.
“You should feel as safe as if you went into your doctor’s office,” said Sweeney.
Contact tracers don’t just deliver bad news about close contacts or positive COVID cases. They also have important information if you need to quarantine, which is why answering their calls is important.
“If you have to be at home isolating or in quarantine and you have to leave work or you can’t get groceries, we have resources to help you with that. So be willing to listen and be willing to answer questions so we can help you through this time,” said Parschauer.
If you would like to volunteer to be a contact tracer, contact your local health department.