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The number of Albertans ignoring contact tracers calls is increasing: Dr. Hinshaw

Last Updated Feb 18, 2021 at 6:41 am MDT

EDMONTON (660 NEWS) — There is a “small but significant increase” in the number of Albertans sending contact tracers straight to voicemail, or not returning their calls.

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said up to and including Dec., less than one per cent of people who weren’t calling contact tracers back. That number increased to 1.9 per cent in Jan. and 1.3 per cent so far in Feb.

“In addition to this, there has also been an increase in those who were initially willing to speak to contact tracers, but then later unwilling to provide the necessary information for us to follow up with contacts,” she said.

When this happens, public health follows up multiple times to try and obtain the details they need and send written notice of information requirements under the Public Health Act to that person who has not provided the necessary information.

“This leaves gaps that COVID is happy to fill,” Hinshaw said.

Hinshaw understands people are expressing COVID fatigue but reminded the public that ignoring this essential process will not make the virus go away.

“Trying to ignore COVID and not participating with contact tracing only pushes back the day we can ease restrictions further by giving the virus the opportunity to spread farther and faster without being stopped,” she said.

She added that contact tracing is a necessary partnership that remains essential to keeping Albertans healthy and reducing the number of cases.