Contact tracers meet some resistance in Fayette County

Posted at 12:25 PM, Nov 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-06 12:28:10-05

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Contact tracers with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department have been met with resistance from some as they try to contain escalating COVID-19 cases within the community.

A small percentage of people who have tested positive for the virus have refused to give contact tracers information about their recent contacts, according to Mia William, an epidemiologist with the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department.

"Some people are afraid of being shunned by their friends and family because they're positive," Williams said. "And some people it's political. But the vast majority of them, it's due to social issues."

Williams said people are concerned about their ability to pay bills and care for their families if they have to quarantine. But, she said, there are support resources available to those who need them.

If people don't follow guidelines of contact tracers and stay home when necessary, Williams said they could contribute to growing community spread.

The health department is actively hiring contact tracers to keep up as Lexington has seen multiple days where more than 100 new coronavirus cases have been reported, she said.

"It is so important because this is what will control the spread," Williams said.

Contact tracers may call using phone numbers from multiple local area codes, she said, and will call back if they don't get an answer. They may also send a text, and email or leave a voice mail.