Williamsville man has concerns with Erie County contact tracing

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WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB)–Nick Romano says he first started feeling COVID-19 symptoms this past weekend.

The Williamsville resident went and got tested Sunday, and a day later received a letter, only it wasn’t one he was expecting.

“It was from the county but it was emailed to us from the children’s schools. It was county paperwork and had our children’s names on there and telling us to isolate them for a certain amount of time.”

Romano says what made this so confusing was that he had yet to receive his COVID test result. Instead, this letter was to let his family know his two daughters had come in close contact with a person who tested positive at their school.

“The school contacted us before the tracer did.”

Romano says this wasn’t the only frustrating thing about dealing with Erie County’s contact tracers. On Wednesday, when he finally got the call he tested positive for COVID-19, the person he spoke with told Romano they were going to wait until the end of his quarantine to ask who he was in close contact with, leading him to take matters into his own hands.

“I thought of everybody I had contact with in the past couple of days and I just shot them a text and said hey this is what’s going on.”

But according to Erie County Health Commissioner Doctor Gale Burstein, her office now has 75 contact tracers that are working their best to get to people as soon as possible.

“We’re going to be able to get to a higher number of people every day. First of all, reaching out to those people that test positive and just making sure they’re aware, making sure they’re putting themselves in isolation. Then the second phase is we have a contact tracer contact them one, or two, or three days later to complete the investigation.”

But Romano says he’s concerned his case shows there needs to be a better way to stop the spread.

“It just seems to be some there’s holes in the system I guess.”

Marlee Tuskes is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.


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