Residents refuse to cooperate in 74% of COVID-19 cases in New Jersey


New Jersey has more than 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents statewide, but many residents refuse to cooperate.

The noncooperation rate with contract tracers has reached a “whopping” 74% of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Phil Murphy said during a Monday news briefing.

“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 to help us stop the spread of this virus. You may think you’ll just call your contacts yourself, but this is a task that is best left to a trained public health professional, a contact tracer, in fact, who can answer questions about access to testing or social supports that they may need to safely quarantine or isolate.”

There have been more than 371,500 cases of COVID-19 in New Jersey, and 15,500 confirmed deaths from the virus, which originated in China. Officials say the increases in the state’s cases are likely a direct result of the Thanksgiving holiday, and health officials in the Garden State urged residents to exercise caution during the upcoming holidays.

“Our contact tracers are our fellow New Jerseyans, and we are committed to continuing to hire New Jerseyans for this important work,” Murphy said. “These are people from within our own communities stepping forward to protect their very neighbors and through their commitment we are beating our bench marks. We’re holding up our end of this battle. We urge you, folks, to please work with us.”

“Remember our contact tracers are not on a witch hunt; they are only concerned with stopping the spread of this virus,” the governor added. “We urge you, please work with our contact tracers and do your part to end this pandemic. The more people who cooperate, the sooner we can slow the spread and crush the curve, the sooner we can emerge from this pandemic.”

Separately, Murphy expressed optimism that the incoming administration of presumed President-elect Joe Biden would work to pass a bailout of New Jersey and other states. While it looks like a $900 billion “stimulus” package is under consideration, Murphy said the amount should more likely be in the $3 trillion range.

“As I’ve said before, I don’t think history will be unkind if we overshoot,” Murphy said. “I think it’ll be devastatingly unkind, in particular to individuals and to small businesses, if we undershoot.”

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