‘I don’t think the trust is as good as it has been’: Concerns raised over contact tracing in Louisiana


A smartphone belonging to Drew Grande, 40, of Cranston, R.I., shows notes he made for contact tracing Wednesday, April 15, 2020. Grande began keeping a log on his phone at the beginning of April, after he heard Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo urge residents to start out of concern about the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Some COVID-wait days to get a call

NEW ORLEANS (WDSU) — In recent weeks, some people have raised concerns over the effectiveness of the state’s contact tracing efforts.

One viewer told WDSU that after testing positive on July 22, he waited until Monday to receive a call.

Dr. Joseph Kanter, with the Louisiana Department of Health, said on average, patients are contacted within 36 hours. He blamed human error, in some cases, for longer wait times.

“More often than not, it’s one of two things: either the phone number was entered incorrectly at the point of the test, or it was communicated incorrectly from the lab to the Office of Public Health,” said Kanter.

WDSU also spoke with a Northshore resident, who did not want to be identified by her full name. She said her experience with contact tracers was positive.

“I kept running a high fever, the whole thing,” said Cindy.

She said she received a call from a state contact tracer within a day or two of testing positive for COVID-19.

Kanter encouraged everyone to participate when they are contacted.

“I don’t think the trust is as good as it has been … I understand their concerns,” said Kanter. “But I wish people were more forthcoming, because it really is about helping those people who might have been exposed get valuable information.”

He added that patients can call the state if they are worried about how long they have been waiting. The number is 877-766-2130.

Louisiana currently employs about 800 contact tracers.

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