A growing number of people infected with COVID-19 are refusing to take part in the county contact tracing program, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez told commissioners at a meeting on Tuesday.
“It is one of the troubling signs we are hearing from the health department. 50% or more are not participating,” he said.
The program, along with the availability of tests, is informing how county and city leaders allow businesses, sports and schools to reopen.
A decision on when and under what restrictions teachers and students in Miami-Dade will return to a classroom is expected this week. A key part of the reopening plan is expected to include contact tracing.
“The last thing I want do is for this thing to get out of hand and schools could be a source of that,” Gimenez added.
Commissioners were surprised the percentage was not higher.
“You cannot force people to tell you who they have been with, I thought it would be 70-80%,” Commissioner Joe Martinez said.
Health officials have said even at a reduced capacity for in-person learning, schools need to be able to identify cases fast and isolate people exposed to someone with the virus.
According to the Florida Department of Health, most test results are coming back in 72 hours. County leaders have said they want the number closer to 48 hours.
“If there is an unfortunate small closer in a school, we can keep it small,” said Dr. Aileen Marty, who is advising county and city leaders on the pandemic.