MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Pa. - With the spread of COVID-19 right now you may not know if you come into contact with a person who has tested positive.

"Being able to keep your family and community safe is number one," said Lindsey Mauldin with the state Department of Health.

Contact tracing is one way to help stop the spread of the disease, but healthcare workers testified in front of a panel hosted by House Democrats that getting the test results quickly is key.

In Montgomery County, one testing site was not getting results for 12 to 14 days, according to the county public health office.

"If we can't get test results in a timely manner it's really difficult for contact tracing to be beneficial," said Michel Masters with the county's Office of Public Health.

Getting people to buy into the contact tracing program is another issue. Tracers say it is hard to get people to answer phone calls, or participate. Some are concerned about losing their jobs if they have to quarantine.

Travelers coming in from out of state are another problem.

"At this point beyond the recommendation, we don't have a good enforcement mechanism to enforce that quarantine. We don't have the records of everyone who has traveled," said Sarah Boateng, Executive Deputy Secretary with the state Department of Health.

There is positive news. The state is currently working with Apple and Google on a COVID app similar to what was launched in Ireland a month ago.

Pennsylvania's health department also wants to hire 4,000 people to help with contact tracing across the state.

Lawmakers say they're looking at ways to help but realize not everyone will buy in.

"I think you almost need a PR effort here to let people know what privacy is protected, what options people can decide versus what people believe is some sort of malicious big brother type of effort," said Pa. Rep. Dan Miller, D-42nd District.

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