By Aaron Kesel
Rockland County, New York is now issuing subpoenas for CV contact tracing after the residents refused to be tracked, according to reports.
It all started with a party that was held where several people contracted CV, NBC 4 New York, reports. State officials have started to issue subpoenas after citizens refused to cooperate with contact tracing, as they probe a new virus cluster.
Health officials are investigating a new cluster of eight or more COVID-19 cases in Rockland County tied to at least three parties with a focus on one larger one earlier this month.
The county plans to resort to the use of subpoenas in order to force people to work with contact tracers as they work to contain a new potential outbreak. It may mark the first time in the tri-state area that such a measure has been taken over COVID contact tracing noncompliance.
The party linked to the new potential cluster was the first of three large parties in Rockland County in the last two weeks. It was hosted June 13 by someone in New City who was sick with coronavirus at the time, sources say. County officials said Wednesday that the host knew they were symptomatic and held the party anyway.
Those who do not follow the orders could face a civil penalty of up to $2,000 a day. The eight Clarkstown residents involved in the parties faced similar fines until they complied with the county’s subpoenas.
County spokesperson John Lyon said Thursday the individuals are now cooperating with authorities.
“This cluster has been attributed to a large party, one of the many gatherings that have been occurring here,” Commissioner of Health Patricia Schnabel Ruppert said Wednesday when announcing the threat of civil fines for those subpoenaed. “This one was held by someone who was ill at the time of the party, hence the spread to at least eight others so far. Large gatherings remain an issue.”
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The county’s health commissioner, Patricia Rupert, said at a news conference that subpoenas are being issued to eight people who were infected at a recent party in Clarkstown, N.Y., north of New York City, but who are refusing to cooperate with contact tracers.
“We are not receiving the necessary cooperation when we contact those who are positive for COVID-19 or those who had been at some of these gatherings,” Rupert said. “My staff has been told that a person does not wish to or have to speak to my disease investigators. They hang up, they deny being at the party, even though we have found their name from another party attendee, or a parent provides us with the information.”
“Many do not answer their cell phones and do not call back,” she added. “Sometimes parents answer for their adult children and promise that they have been home consistently, when they have not been. This must stop.”
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The frustrations have now led to subpoenas, she said.
“Unfortunately I am now forced by these circumstances to send subpoenas to the individuals who are required to cooperate with us,” Rupert said. “Failure to comply will be costly: $2,000 per day.”
Meanwhile, our smartphones – both Android and iPhone – have been given a sneaky upgrade to add a CV contract tracing feature. Apple and Google rolled out the new contact tracing tool in their respective settings —called COVID-19 Exposure Logging.
When Activist Post originally reported on the digital rights group’s list, there was only a total of 15 countries which had already started measures to track the phones of coronavirus patients, ranging from anonymized aggregated data to monitor the movement of people more generally, to the tracking of individual suspected patients and their contacts, known as “contact tracing.” Now, there are 50 countries that have implemented contact tracing through smartphone apps; that’s a significant increase in such a short period of time.
Top10VPN writes the following:
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19:
- Contact Tracing Apps are being used in 50 countries
- Alternative digital tracking measures are active in 35 countries
- Physical surveillance technologies are in use in 11 countries
- COVID-19-related censorship has been imposed by 18 governments
- Internet shutdowns continue in 3 countries despite the outbreak
Activist Post has consistently expressed that measures being put into place now will likely remain long after the pandemic has stopped and the virus has run its course. That’s the everlasting effect that COVID-19 will have on our society. The coronavirus is classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, and it may very well be a legitimate health concern for all of us around the world. But it’s the government’s response that should worry us more in the long run.
Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post.
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