To the Editor:

Chatham Borough has reported two new Covid-19 cases in the past two weeks, both in young adults. Neighboring vicinities are also seeing a rise in cases among young adults. Especially worrisome, health officers are reporting that increasingly, people with positive diagnoses are refusing to share information about their contacts with health officers, which means that health departments cannot contact those who have been exposed to tell them to get tested and isolate themselves in the meantime from vulnerable family and friends.

I urge everyone to cooperate with our hard-working and highly professional health department and explain to your family and friends why it’s crucial that they also do so. Your privacy will be protected: contact tracers will not reveal your identity to your contacts when they call. Help the contact tracers do their job, and they will help keep your loved ones safe.

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How else can you help? First, refrain from social media shaming of people who are attending parties or otherwise behaving in ways you think are unwise. It too often backfires, making people afraid to cooperate with contact tracers for fear they will be “found out” and publicly shamed. Second, model the behavior you wish to see in others and have faith that your good example is powerful and will make a difference in the long run.

If we are going to fare well in this pandemic, we need to care for each other and build trust as a community. I hope everyone in Chatham will join me toward this end.


Lara Freidenfelds

Member, Chatham Borough Board of Health