Democratic state rep: Contact tracing in Florida is a 'joke'

Democratic state rep: Contact tracing in Florida is a 'joke'
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Florida state Rep. Shevrin Jones (D) on Tuesday blasted the state’s contact tracing efforts as “a joke,” saying his own attempts to provide contact tracers information after he contracted the virus were unsuccessful.

“Unfortunately, the contact tracing that we have here in the state of Florida is a joke,” Jones said in an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.”

“Last Thursday when I got the call from the Health Department, it seemed as if she was reading off of a questionnaire, and as she was reading the question, there was no question that she was asking that would have led her to the point of who I had probably come in contact with.”

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Jones added that around the time the tracer reached her third question, the phone disconnected and he had not heard back since.

“So, if we are doing contact tracing, the contact tracing is a joke, and we’ve already contracted with a company that we’ve paid $61 million to who said they were doing contact tracing, I want to know what happened to the $61 million,” he added.

Jones conceded he had himself been “negligent in certain areas” involving the transmission of the coronavirus.

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He said that as the state relaxed quarantine restrictions, “I got lax and started shaking hands,” adding “I’m man enough to admit that and I want individuals to see the mistakes that I’ve made and let people know: you do not want coronavirus. It is painful, it is an emotional roller coaster.”

Peter Hotez, dean of tropical medicine at Baylor College of Medicine, on Monday said in an appearance on CNN that in many states experiencing a spike in the virus, “the cases are rising so rapidly that we cannot even do contact tracing anymore. I don't see how it's possible to even do that.”

The Hill has reached out to the Florida Department of Health for comment.