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December 07, 2020

Almost 75% of New Jerseyans not cooperating with COVID-19 contact tracers

Prevention Contact Tracing
new jersey covid-19 contact tracing.jpg Edwin J. Torres/New Jersey Office of the Governor

'Quite frankly, this is unacceptable,' New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said of the amount of people not working with the state's contact tracers.

New Jersey continues to build out its COVID-19 contact tracing program, and now has 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents statewide. But not many people are cooperating with the program that would help stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The rate of non-cooperation with contact tracers is up to 74%, Gov. Phil Murphy said Monday.

"Quite frankly, this is unacceptable and we need folks to turn that around," Murphy said. "It is extremely critical for contact tracers to get in touch with the close contacts of those who test positive."

"You may think you'll just call your contacts yourself," he added. "but this is a task that is best left to a trained public health official who can answer questions about access to testing or social support that they may need to safely quarantine."

There currently are 631 contact tracers deployed across South Jersey, including 151 each in Burlington and Camden counties.

Six of the seven South Jersey counties have a rate of at least 33 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents. Camden County has the greatest number of contact tracers in the region, Camden's rate of contact tracers per capita sits below the statewide average.

New Jersey began rolling out its COVID-19 contact tracing program in May

The state then unveiled its own COVID-19 contact tracing app in October, which uses Bluetooth signals to determine potential coronavirus exposures. The app, called COVID Alert NJ, has been downloaded by more than 440,000 residents, Murphy said.

New Jersey reported 3,573 additional coronavirus infections on Monday, pushing the state's total to 371,579 since the pandemic began in March. The state has had 15,550 lab-confirmed fatalities due to COVID-19 since the public health crisis started.

"We urge you to please work with our contact tracers and do your part to end this pandemic." the governor said. "The more people cooperate, the sooner we can slow the spread and crush the curve, the sooner we can emerge from this pandemic."

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