BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Health officials are reminding Marylanders to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by answering telephone calls from contact tracers.

Baltimore County said it has more than 100 contact tracers investigating COVID-19 cases.

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“Once we find out who all their contacts are, we find the contacts and say, ‘Please quarantine yourself,'” Baltimore County health officer Dr. Gergory Branch said.

Branch said 60 more contact tracers will be brought on by the end of August.

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“If you get a call from MD COVID, we ask that you answer the call,” Gov. Larry Hogan said during a press conference Wednesday.

State officials continue to stress the importance of contact tracers’ work, but said they’re unsuccessful in about a quarter of cases.

“One of the reasons that number is not higher is because some Marylanders are either not answering the phone or, in some cases, they’re refusing to cooperate or participate in contact tracing efforts,” Gov. Hogan said.

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In other states, contact tracers are having trouble keeping up with the rise in COVID-19 cases.

The goal of contact tracers is to reach those who may have come in contact with someone who has COVID-19 before it spreads to others.

Dr. branch said contact tracers will never ask for personal or financial information.

“We’re not going to ask those types of questions,” he said. “We just need to be able to inform them.”

Simply informing people is an obstacle, too, according to health officials. Some wait more than a week for test results, making contact tracers’ jobs more difficult.

“Not only is it the contact tracing within the first 24 to 48 hours, it’s also getting the test back very, very quickly,” Dr. Branch said.

Once those results come in, Gov. Hogan said contact tracers are successful in reaching more than 80 percent of cases within the first 24 hours.

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For the latest information on coronavirus go to the Maryland Health Department’s website or call 211. You can find all of WJZ’s coverage on coronavirus in Maryland here.

Paul Gessler