Murphy: Many refusing to cooperate with contact tracers

14 Sep 2020 | 03:41

Almost three-fifths of people who respond to New Jersey’s COVID-19 contact tracers are refusing to cooperate, Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy said on Sept. 11.

Murphy called on people to cooperate with the state’s roughly 1,800 contact tracers, whose ranks he built up with the aim of smothering any new outbreaks.

He suggested people are worried that the tracers might pass information along to law enforcement, particularly for those associated with underage drinking parties.

But he sought to allay those concerns. “It’s not a witch hunt,’’ he said. Overall, 82 percent of people getting initial calls from tracers answer them. He said 59 percent refuse cooperation, which he called “bad news.’’

Despite that, he said 20 out of 21 counties have exceeded his goal of hiring 15 contact tracers per 100,000 people. There are 21 contact tracers per 100,000 people on average, he added.

Murphy also reported 500 new positive cases overnight, putting the total at about 196,000.

There were nine new deaths reported overnight, raising the death toll to 14,234 confirmed COVID-19 deaths, with 1,789 fatalities likely stemming from the virus.