READING, Pa. - Reading-based Co-County Wellness Services has been contact tracing since the spring. That's when 69 News first told you about its work -- the employees and volunteers creating a database and calling those who may have been exposed to a COVID-19 patient.
"It's one of the tools that we have to help stop the spread," said Carolyn Bazik, the organization's executive director.
The agency met with the Berks County commissioners in a public virtual meeting Wednesday. Among the several updates on its operation was a warning of potential scammers.
"Our tracers will never ask for a social security number, that type of information," said Bazik.
They also shared that, soon, contact tracing will be aided by smartphones. Pennsylvania's Department of Health is developing the app, which will use Bluetooth technology to allow users of the app to keep track of other users of the app that have been in close contact with them, and if one of those users tests positive, the app will send out alerts.
"It is not a GPS-enabled application," said Bazik. "It is 100% voluntary. It is 100% anonymous."
While they said many COVID-19-positive people are cooperative, major roadblocks are created by those who refuse to be entered in the database.
"We get too many people that are unsure, and so their best answer is to refuse," said deputy director Barbara Waller. "That doesn't help us do anything to slow down the COVID-19."
Co-County Wellness Services said its database is 100% anonymous, and everyone's information is kept confidential.