Just a few months ago, officials and experts were optimistic that Colorado had now passed a turning point in the war against COVID-19. But stagnating vaccination rates and the rise of the delta variable have delayed the victory over the virus. And now there’s a new concern: Fewer Coloradans are cooperating with contact tracers — public health workers who trace the source of infection in order to minimize the impact of an outbreak.
Last week, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment issued a statement titled, “CDPHE is asking Coloradans to collaborate with local public health agencies, as pioneers in contact tracing.” A spokesman for the department confirmed that it was issued in an attempt to stop the tide of non-cooperation.
The representative notes that “as Coloradans are suffering from COVID-19 stress, interest in providing information to contact tracers has decreased.”
Frustration over COVID-19 is a thing, too. The reduction in safety restrictions during the first part of 2021 was followed by spending cuts amid spiraling case numbers and hospitalizations, which led to protests against school mask mandates in a variety of locations in the metro area and statewide. Jefferson County recently closed several mobile vaccination sites because drivers were constantly harassing employees, and they have since hired security.
A CDPHE spokesperson doesn’t specify which parts of the state department employees have the most difficult time gathering information for contact tracing — but it’s possible to read between the lines.
“We know that counties with higher vaccination rates have lower infection rates, and counties with lower vaccination rates tend to have higher infection rates,” the spokesperson notes. “In areas of high transmission, individuals are more susceptible to contracting COVID-19. In those areas, contact tracing becomes more important to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 and more difficult to ascertain where someone has contracted COVID-19 because there are many It’s also important for workplaces and schools to have policies in place that help support Colorado residents who need to isolate or quarantine due to a diagnosis of or exposure to COVID-19.”
The importance of working with contact tracing tools goes beyond just controlling community spread, as “local public health agencies play a key role in tracing contacts, obtaining information for people who have tested positive for the virus, and tracing and reporting others who may have been exposed,” the delegate stresses. “They may also connect people to health workers to ensure they have the resources they need to isolate or quarantine to prevent further spread. In addition, some close contacts who are at risk of progressing to severe disease are eligible for monoclonal antibody treatment even before they test positive. For COVID-19. This type of treatment is known as post-exposure prophylaxis and can prevent the development of COVID-19. However, individuals may not know they qualify for this treatment if they are not identified as having close contact with a COVID-19 case.”
CDPHE adds: “Case investigation and contact tracing work are most effective in preventing the next generation of cases when they are rapid and complete. Success depends on people responding to public health calls as quickly as possible and sharing as much information as they can.” Furthermore, “Contact tracing is also an important part of a multi-layered approach used to reduce cases of COVID-19. Mask wearing is another important tool, and helps protect friends, families and the community. Anyone who has not been fully vaccinated should limit gatherings and wear Mask in indoor public spaces. Vaccinated individuals should consider wearing a mask in indoor public spaces when transmission rates are high.”
How likely is it that a person who refuses to talk to a contact tracker will follow this advice? The question largely answers itself.