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Dubuque contact tracers struggle to get people to answer or return calls

Coronavirus testing.
Coronavirus testing.(File)
Published: Nov. 16, 2020 at 11:24 PM CST
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - “Hi. This is Stacy calling from over at the Visiting Nurse Association. I am giving you a call today on behalf of Public Health and ask that you give our office a call back as soon as possible.”

If you have tested positive for COVID-19, you have probably gotten a call like that one from the Visiting Nurse Association. They are the ones in charge of contact tracing.

Stacey Killian, director of the VNA, said they are struggling to get people to answer or return their calls. She said contact tracing is the biggest weapon they have to fight the virus.

“It is going to have us look at where it is going, where it is spreading, how far in the community,” Killian said. “It is all we have right now to provide that education to keep us from continuing the spread.”

Killian said they do have to ask a lot of questions. In fact, almost twelve pages of questions.

“Looking at who is in the household is a priority,” Killian said. “The reason for that is, if we do not know who is in the household we cannot provide them with that isolation, quarantine.”

Killian said they also ask about your workplace, your symptoms, and your travel history. She said some people are wary about giving out information, but that there is a reason behind those questions.

“These questions we ask are designed to get those responses so we can help target COVID and help make our community healthier, I think educating them is our biggest key,” Killian said.

That is why Killian says you should either answer the phone or return the call as soon as possible.

“As part of public health, I beg you to listen and follow our guidance, answer your phone when we call, assist us with our questions, comply with quarantine and isolation recommendations,” Killian said.

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