Health officials are seeing a “disturbing trend” in Paterson of infected residents refusing to disclose information about people who they have come in contact with frustrating the fight against the deadly coronavirus, municipal officials said on Wednesday night.
“They are putting people’s lives at risk by doing that,” said public health officer Paul Persaud on Thursday morning. He pointed to a case of an infected person, who refused to share close contacts, only to find his father showing symptoms for Covid-19. “You should give out information. Don’t withhold it.”
What’s the consequences of withholding information? Persaud said people’s refusal to provide information to the Communicable Disease Strike Team means no monitoring of contacts and no implementation of preventative measures.
“The result will be an increasing number household contacts getting infected and spreading the disease within the City and elsewhere,” said Persaud. “Isolating those that are ill and those that may have had close contacts with an infected person from those that are not ill in a timely manner is key to the mitigation process and reducing the number new infections.”
Paterson had 1,348 infected people with 59 deaths on Wednesday.
Persaud said lack of cooperation from some, but not all, infected residents is also resulting in the Strike Team, made up of 25 trained disease detectives, having to spend more time on the uncooperative cases.
“We can dedicate that time to others,” said Persaud. The Strike Team is tasked with handling a massive amount of contact tracing as the number of cases continue to increase.
Persuad is urging people to cooperate and provide information about close contacts to the Strike Team. He said the team has English, Spanish, Bengali, and Arabic speaking members to better assist the city’s many ethnic groups.
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