Every day, Solange Madriz spends many emotionally draining hours on the phone with scared people.
The people at the other end of the line have all been identified as having close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19, and he is one of 180 contactees in San Francisco who tested him and went home Asked to live on.
“You can tell by the tone of the voice, the way they’re asking questions, and it’s heartbreaking,” Madriz said. “I have social services that can support them and are heartbroken only to know that they are experiencing fear – not only are they sick, but they are experiencing fear in a moment when they have to Hands are required to support. “
If they have to make time for quarantine, they worry about losing their wages and then not paying the rent. Immigrants are concerned that their information may be shared with federal authorities, and whether public assistance can be obtained against them in future immigration proceedings, according to Madriz, who said most of his calls are made in Spanish.
But even just getting people on the phone can be a challenge, thanks to a confluence of factors that hinder California’s contact tracing efforts – all of which ultimately control the spread of COVID-19 in one state Making it more difficult for those who now have the highest number of cases in the country.
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A portion of people who have contracted COVID-19 have refused to share information due to mistrust of the government, whose positive contact they have been in close contact before, while others denied sheer embarrassment Have given. Delays in obtaining the results of tests provide contact tracing efforts in some cases. Meanwhile, an increase in cases in the state has challenged contactees to stick with the sheer volume of people to call.
“It’s not a good situation,” said Brad Pollock, associate dean for public health sciences at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. “The epidemic would be reduced, thinking that the epidemic would have been cured three and a half or four weeks ago, but the epidemic has not yet persisted.”
California became the fourth state to pass the total confirmed cases of coronovirus on May 27, when the state began reopening some businesses. It has since jumped to more than 481,000 cases, leading the nation, tracking by the NBC News show. There are 183,383 confirmed cases in Los Angeles County alone, health officials said Wednesday.
Public health experts say it may be important to spread contact tracing and move states to a point where they can reopen.
“There is no place in the world where successfully limiting broadcasting without a contact tracing program,” said Emily Gurley, an epidemiologist at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and a leading instructor for an online course on contact teaching.
In late May, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that the state would train 10,000 people to become liaison coaches in programs run at the county level, called California Connected. But as the number of confirmed coronovirus cases in California, and in many other states, increased over the summer, there is also a delay in getting the test results back.
Daniel Parker, an assistant professor of public health at the University of California, Irvine, who received training in Orange County, said he needed to get in contact with someone within three days of the result of a positive test to prevent the transmission of the disease. But if it takes a week or more to get results, “you have to question whether it’s worthwhile at that point,” he said.
In Los Angeles County, which aims to reach 4,000 people a day in its contact tracing program, officials recently began giving $ 20 gift cards to those participating. Officials announced the new impetus after the calculation that about half of the people who tested positive would not share their close contacts.
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“It’s because people – and people – have told us they are afraid of losing their housing, their jobs and their relationships,” said Barbara Ferrer, director of Los Angeles County Public Health, at a press conference last week.
In some cases people have claimed over the phone that they are not in contact with anyone, even though county employees can hear people in the background, said True Beck, a public health worker who manages the contact tracing team in Los Angeles.
Controlling the spread of the disease is especially important for people of color who are dying of COVID-19 untimely. Los Angeles is trying to address inequality by opening more testing sites in Black and Latino communities this month.
But the chief medical officer of Sutter Health, a nonprofit health company operating hospitals and clinics in Northern California, was Dr. Stephen Lockhart said that long-standing racial discrimination has given many people reason to doubt government agencies in black communities. For testing and tracing operations to succeed, he said, counties need to partner with groups that are trusted in these communities.
“It is a reflection, I think, that many people in the black community have lived experiences,” he said. “It can be overcome, but it must be addressed.”
Other counties outside Los Angeles have also seen resistance. A spokesman said that in San Bernardino County, only 25 percent of the cases investigated were those of his close contacts. Calcedatters reported that Mered County was having so much difficulty gathering information that the bus stopped contacting.
Michael Osur, Riverside County’s assistant director for public health, said his team has faced people who were afraid to speak with a contact tracer could have fired them.
“We have some businesses that tell their people not to cooperate with us, and there are more people of color working in those industries,” he said, referring to food processing workers and farmworkers.
Contact tracing efforts in California, along with posing as scammers and attempts to obtain a person’s money or social security number, as well as the national crisis of dacoits, have made people less likely to answer phones at unknown numbers .
Officials in Stanislas County in California’s Central Valley said at a new conference last week that they realized their public health phone number did not contain caller ID, something they are trying to fix.
Ultimately, health experts say that they need more than anything to make the contact more fruitful, that is, the cooperation of the public with measures of social concern and covering the face.
“We need people to wear masks. Over and out, ”said George Rutherford, an epidemiologist at the University of California San Francisco, who designed a contact tracing training program.
“With the bars out, it will drop case rates. The fewer cases, the easier it becomes. “