TRENTON, NJ – Bipartisanship is a hard creature to find in New Jersey, but ignoring New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s army of contact tracers has turned into a bi-partisan effort of epic proportion. Early on, Murphy blamed “Trumpers” and Republicans for using contact tracing as a political football against him. Now, the science and data show it is clearly a bi-partisan effort that transcends political, racial, gender, and economic boundaries.
Phil Murphy still can’t understand why New Jersey residents far and wide and from all political parties are ignoring calls from his army of contact tracers. This week, he announced 78% of calls being made by contact tracers are dead ends. People are either not willing to give information or not answering the random unknown out of area phone call.
When rates were much lower, Murphy called it a political statement. Now, with a 78% rejection rate, the new figure shows an unwillingness to give the state information about your comings and goings is now a bi-partisan issue.
Despite the futile effort, Murphy keeps hiring more contact tracers.
“We all still have a lot more work ahead of us. That also includes work with our contact tracers whose job it is to help stop the spread of disease by making sure those who have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive knows their status,” Murphy said. “Last week, we put another 233 contact tracers on the job, more than 3,300 are working diligently every day to fight this public health crisis. We have met our benchmark of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents in every county but one, and in some counties we’re well over that level. We have made sure our contact tracing corps is properly trained. We have made sure that they come from the communities in which they work. We have done everything we can to give our communities the tools to fight COVID, and yet they hit walls because the people they are trained to help aren’t helping them or themselves. The percentage of people who aren’t cooperating with our contact tracers got as high as 78% last week.”
Murphy once again begged residents to answer the call, because you need an expert from the government to help you through your COVID-19 close encounters.
“So I ask you all again, in fact, I implore you, if one of our contact tracers calls, please work with them. No one is out on a witch hunt. No one doubts that you’ll have only the best interest when you say it’s okay, I’ll call my friends on my own. But this is a time when a trained public health expert needs to be in the game, in the lead,” he said. “We have also, as you know, created the COVID Alert NJ app to help ensure that you get notified if you have been potentially exposed. That app has now been downloaded, and this number is going up pretty dramatically by about 460,000 times. We are continuing to make improvements and are currently testing upgrades of the app in 10 additional languages, including Arabic, Gujarat, Hindi, Korean and Portuguese, among others, that are often heard across our incredibly diverse state.”