When positive results come down, some people are not picking up the phone.By Royce Jones

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – When contact tracers leave messages in voicemail boxes, many people are not calling back. On Tuesday those leading the charge on statewide coronavirus testing and tracing held a press conference pleading with people to cooperate with contact tracing procedures.

“These are difficult conversations. But these conversations matter. These conversations make a difference,” said Lindsey Mauldin, Special Assistant on Contact Tracing for the Pennsylvania Department of Health.

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According to health leaders, there have been more than 65 million coronavirus tests performed at more than 900 sites so far in Pennsylvania. And testing is being expanded through regional sites across the state.

“Last week, the regional testing sites ran by AMI in Butler, Bedford, Mifflin, Tioga and North Hampton counties tested almost 7,000 individuals,” said Michael Huff, Director of Testing and Contact Tracing with the state Department of Health.

But when positive results come down, some people are not picking up.

“In order to effectively contact trace, we need Pennsylvanians to participate in case investigation,” said Mauldin.

Public health leaders say not answering is putting people at risk and expressed the importance of picking up the phone.

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“Last week alone our contact tracing team monitored nearly 8,000 close contacts who were identified across the state during a case investigation,” said Mauldin.

Some suggest the pushback could be stemming from stigma surrounding a diagnosis.

Public health leaders reassured people the process is safe.

“The information shared during this conversation will remain anonymous and close contacts are not informed about who they came in contact with,” said Mauldin.

Another issue is theCOVID-19 Alert PA App. There are almost 700,000 downloads to date. But some remain resistant, expressing concerns about data security. Leaders tell KDKA the app is a secure and effective way to identify exposure.

“We worked really closely with leading experts in the field to ensure confidentiality is protected,” said Mauldin.

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The app is free in your phone’s app store and has all the information you need about the coronavirus in Pennsylvania.