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Local health officials tired as residents take out quarantine frustrations on them

Officials across the region have echoed concerns about contact tracing, or rather, the challenges around executing it effectively.

Specifically, public health officials have referenced scenarios where individuals have either willfully withheld information about folks they may have exposed after testing positive, or those who may not want to share where they have been in recent days.

“We’re barely able to keep up, in terms of trying to contact people: isolate and quarantine and find out circle if you will,” Ontario County Public Health Director Mary Beer told 13WHAM. “My staff are exhausted.”

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In Seneca County, Public Health Director Vickie Swinehart pleaded with the public during a recent meeting of the Seneca County Board of Supervisors to “do the right thing.” A major issue that her office has seen is that when contact tracing calls are placed people don’t share accurate information. “Please be honest with contact tracers when they call,” she added at the time.

Beer told 13WHAM that sometimes the reaction is what contributes to the exhaustion. “Occasionally, we get someone who just does not want to do it. They’re angry and they’re yelling at us,” she added. “We do not find any joy in quarantining or isolating anyone. We’re just really trying to get a handle on this so it doesn’t get so out of control that we see here what’s going on in the rest of the country.”

There is the potential for fines if residents are found to be violating health orders. However, there haven’t been any examples of New Yorkers getting fined for violation to date.