One of the cornerstones of the COVID-19 response is contact tracing – when teams of people track down and get in touch with close contacts of those who have tested positive. In order to progress in reopening, Governor Gavin Newsom has required every county health department to take on 15 contact tracers for every 100,000 residents.
The policy outlet CalMatters, however, argues that not all counties are following through on their commitments. An article published last week reports that Merced County, which committed to 42 contact tracers for its 278,000 residents, ceased contact tracing altogether in June—a claim originally corroborated by a county epidemiologist but later disputed by the county following the article’s publication. In this interview, FM89’s health reporter Kerry Klein speaks with Rebecca Sohn about how she reported this story and the role of contact tracing in containing the virus.