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Most Riverside County residents who test positive for coronavirus not sharing key information

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Riverside County public health officials say 75 percent of people who test positive for coronavirus in the county are unwilling or unable to share information with county contact tracers about people they've had contact with outside their homes.

"The way we get through this is with containing the disease and a key point of that is contact tracing," said Riverside County Public Information Officer Brooke Federico.

The county's 290 contract tracers, soon to be 375, call people who test positive for coronavirus to ask who they've come in contact with and where they've been.

The tracers then call others to notify them they may have been exposed.

Federico says most people who test positive say they're unsure about who their outside contacts may be.

They're also unwilling to share personal information with the government.

She also says they're afraid other people might be mad at them for exposing others to the virus.

"We want to remind people that contact tracing has been happening for decades. It is a cornerstone in public health disease investigation and in stopping all communicable diseases," said Federico.

To encourage greater cooperation with contact tracers county officials are simply asking for it, saying "it's the right thing to do" and could turn out to be "life saving".

The County Public Health Director says information collected by contact tracers is not shared with other government agencies and is not shared with other people contacted by tracers.

We spoke with people about contact tracing.

"I don't think it's really necessary, we do a pretty good job of policing ourselves," said Rancho Mirage resident Sharon Calcagno.

"I don't see a problem with sharing that information," said Desert Edge resident Rachael Wandstrat.

Federico says the county is not considering any incentives or any potential penalties for people who don't cooperate with contact tracers.

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.

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