Vanderburgh County Health Department works to help COVID-19 contact tracing

Coronavirus Watch Indiana

VANDERBURGH COUNTY, Ind. (WEHT)– Nearly 40% of people called through COVID-19 contact tracing will either withhold information or decline phone calls according to Vanderburgh County Health Department administrators.

Since some community members aren’t following health guidelines, the Vanderburgh County Health Department is no longer approving events expecting more than 125 people. Health leaders say many people aren’t cooperating with contact tracers either.

“More and more people are being lost to follow up where they aren’t being reached or they may be even refusing to answer what the state is asking for,” said Vanderburgh County Administrator Joe Gries. He said they are trying to bring on interns to help the contact trace by calling people who may not be transparent.

“There’s a little bit more corporation sometimes when you have the local people calling. You see that local number,” explained Gries. He said this may help people stay more informed and encourage them to take responsibility for their health and the well being of others.

Gries said if they know someone isn’t isolating like they should, the health department can request a court order be issued. He said they’ve had to do that before.

“It does hold a force and effect of I think a misdemeanor if you don’t comply once that order is provided to you,” Gries said.

At Thursday’s Vanderburgh County Health Board meeting, Vanderburgh County Health Officer Dr. Spear announced his retirement. The health board along with Mayor Lloyd Winnecke and the Vanderburgh County commissioners will work together to find a health officer to take his place next year.

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(This story was originally published on October 30, 2020)

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