N.J. governor urges residents to cooperate with contact tracers to help slow COVID-19 spread

More than 2,3000 contact tracers across the state are working to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but they face a major hurdle in their work – cooperation from the public.

About 60 percent of the people contact tracers call refuse to cooperate with the contact tracers, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said on Friday.

“We continue to see a lack of cooperation with our contact tracers,” Murphy said as he urged people to cooperate. “Please take the call. Our contract tracers have a clear job. They’re not on a witch hunt. They are working to make sure you have the resources you need to safely self-quarantine and to notify those who you may have exposed so they can take steps to protect themselves and slow the spread of the virus throughout the community.”

Murphy said that 120 new contact tracers began working over the past week, and more than 200 more potential contact tracers began training. The state’s goal is to have at least 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents in each county. Mercer County and six other counties have reached or exceeded the goal. The other counties are Essex, Union, Passaic, Warren, Cumberland, and Salem. The city of Newark has also achieved the goal.

Middlesex County has 21.8 contact tracers per 100,000 residents, while Monmouth County has 22.8, Ocean County has 21.4, Somerset County has 24, and Hunterdon County has 18.5.

The governor encouraged residents to download the state’s COVID-19 exposure notification app. More than 375,000 people have downloaded the free app so far. Murphy said the app is secure and uses Bluetooth technology to exchange information securely and anonymously using non-identifying codes. All notifications about potential COVID-19 exposure are anonymous. “You will never know who it was you were near and they won’t know who you are either,” Murphy said.