Gov. Edwards: Contact tracing isn't mandatory, but please cooperate

Chris Miller
May 23, 2020 - 5:45 pm
John Bel Edwards

Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards says the state is making progress in hiring more contact tracers, a key element in being able to move from phase one of reopening to phase two. He is also trying to calm fears that the program is some kind of government intrusion on individual liberty.

Some Republican lawmakers have expressed concerns that the state will mandate people to participate if they get a call from a contact tracer -- and have amended the governor's proposed budget to explicitly state contact tracing will get no state funding is people are forced to take part. 

Gov. Edwards said it was never mandatory, but if the state is to loosen more restrictions, the program needs to work

"Again, this is one of those efforts where I would encourage people not to think along the lines of what you have a right to do, or a right not to do, but think about what is the right thing to do," said Edwards.

Gov. Edwards said when a patient tests positive for COVID-19, public health officials will work with that person to determine who may have been exposed, and then contact tracers will reach out to them to let them know. He said patients' names will not be revealed.

The governor said contact tracing has been used in Louisiana before, for dangerous, contagious diseases like tuberculosis, and before it was eradicated, smallpox.

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