NYC’s Test & Trace Corps will hit the streets in Tremont, a Bronx neighborhood among areas being inundated with the highest rates of COVID cases.
Mayor de Blasio feels this focused response will be essential to bringing life-as-usual back to NYC, and had this to say:
“Widespread testing and tracing is the key to re-opening our city safely, but that only works if we have the participation of all of our neighbor…We are making testing as fast and convenient in the neighborhoods that need it most to ensure New Yorkers have the tools they need to protect themselves and their loves ones.”
Residents of Tremont testing positive will be connected to support services. Additionally, past close contacts with others will be investigated to determine other potentially infected individuals.
Mayor de Blasio’s press release also mentions that hotel rooms will be provided, as needed, for infected residents, to protect those yet uninfected living in the same household with those identified as infected with COVID-19 by the program.
Thus far, the city has rented 1,200 hotel rooms, which will be provided free of charge. Thus far, less than one hundred of these rooms have been put to use.
Will infected persons be forced to relocate temporarily to a hotel room? Probably not. Instead, most choose to remain at home.
NYC will provide ten million dollars in grants to community-based organizations to accomplish these goals. One such goal is the immediate isolation and care for those identified as infected by this program, as well as “…rapidly track[ing],assess[ing], and warrant[ing] anyone they came into contact with who they may have infected.”
Thus far, NYC has hired over three thousand workers to conduct community-based contact tracing. This program, thus far, has netted dubious results. Less than half of NYC residents testing positive cooperated and provided information about close contacts.
It seems that many New Yorkers are more concerned with maintaining their privacy than helping the test and trace corps to successfully stem the tide of new infections.
Tracers ask infected persons for the names and phone numbers of each person they’ve come into contact with recently.
It seems that many who are not quite comfortable providing the government with this sort of data, and there’s no way to compel anyone to comply.
Balancing privacy versus community wellness is a key issue here.
There have also been phone apps installed in everyone’s phones recently, and whether you have an I-phone or SmartPhone doesn’t matter, everyone’s phones now have this (mostly) undocumented feature.
Could this be used to provide hard data on whom might be infected, a more reliable measure of who may be at risk than voluntary compliance with tracers? Probably. However, this is a far more invasive method of collecting this information, and probably won’t be used for this purpose, unless other measures fail.
New Yorkers looking to get tested should text COVID TEST to 855-48 or visit NYC.gov/COVIDTEST