At the Sept. 21 Situational Update, Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) emphasized the importance of individuals answering the contracting calls amid low response rates.
Bowser said to look for ‘DC COVID Team’ as a caller ID from contact tracers and to rest assured that responses are kept confidential.
“It will help us contain the virus,” Bowser said, emphasizing the importance of picking up the call. “It’s a part of a social good that helps you protect your friends, family, coworkers, and neighbors.”
Bowser said that contact tracers will never ask an individual for personal information such as immigration status, social security number, bank or credit card information on a call.
The Mayor also discussed the new home visit pilot program. Residents are eligible for this program if they have missing or incorrect phone numbers, if investigators have reached out one or more times to an individual or if they feel an individual’s needs would be better met with a home visit from a health care or community health provider.
Bowser said while this program has its challenges it has been helpful to many saying in some cases it is “the first time that the positive case was notified of their positive test result.”
Bowser said, ultimately, for contact tracing to work, it needs a large number of participants.
“We can have the best system but we need participation,” Bowser said. “We need compliance, Dr. Nesbitt calls it community engagement, but we will continue to work towards getting the compliance that we need. And you’ve seen already when just the phone calls that work we added our staff going out to do the home visits, and we will continue to work for strategies to get the number of where we need it.”
Learn more about District efforts to fight COVID-19 at coronavirus.dc.gov.
Sarah Payne is a History and Neuroscience student at The University of Michigan interning with HillRag. She writes for and serves as an assistant news editor for Michigan’s student newspaper, The Michigan Daily. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.