Santa Clara County aims to expand contract tracing with goal of investigating every new case | Town Square | Palo Alto Online |

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Santa Clara County aims to expand contract tracing with goal of investigating every new case

Original post made on May 7, 2020

Contact tracing will become a new focus for Santa Clara County public health officials, according to discussions at the Board of Supervisors meeting Tuesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, May 6, 2020, 11:53 AM

Comments (16)

13 people like this
Posted by George
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 7, 2020 at 8:26 am

One day soon we will all be able to boast proximity to, maybe participation in, or just acquiescence to the local industry that created the tools and structures that brought about the surveillance state. Maybe we will wonder how we just watched it grow in Silicon Valley and didn't say anything. When they are monitoring workers keystrokes for productivity and compliance, monitoring vital signs for acceptable behavior, watching bank accounts for socially accepted purchases, monitoring organizations and companies for politically correct behaviors aligned to the mandates of an ideological state, monitoring the gene pool for undesirable health issues, and following everyone's movements from above - what will we think then?
'Contact tracing' sounds pretty good unless to stop to think about it. Then it's not so good. Then it's really bad.
People who are creating this will spin it - their contribution to the pandemic.
Actually, the pandemic was massively misread and much less than the hype and this has given license to a round of dictatorial license that is unprecedented. And Google, Apple, Newsom, Facebook, Newsom, and others are taking advantage.
Some of those who live in the Valley earn their living from creating these surveillance systems but all of us will have to accept, one day, that we let this happen.
There was so much demand for testing - testing everywhere. Testing at nine a.m. doesn't mean you won't catch it at nine fifteen on the way out the door. Testing everyone everywhere is silly and leads to inventions like 'contact tracing' (surely, soon to be known as 'contact management)
Track the occurrence (how many in the icu) x that's all that's needed. The rest is the sound of your personal and constitutional rights flying out the window


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2020 at 9:01 am

Do we hear what is being said here? Because of the pandemic, which of course is bad, we are going to have to put up with governments knowing who we interact with, where we go, and what we are doing. The idea that this is something that protects us, will turn us quiet and bow down to the authority of Big Brother.

Orwellian takeover of our lives in the name of fighting a virus!

Nothing surprises me any more.


8 people like this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 7, 2020 at 9:05 am

^ plus knowing everything we post on social media like this.


3 people like this
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2020 at 9:11 am

>> The goal is to be able to have county staff investigate every new case of COVID-19, but the county currently traces about 75 cases per day, according to Cody. She said an ideal team of contact tracing staff would be about 1,000 people.

How big is the contact tracing team now? 1,000 staff is a pretty large number-- surely that can't be correct for a permanent number?

We all want to see greatly expanded contact tracing and testing, but, I'm thinking that maybe something didn't get transcribed correctly in the interview?


5 people like this
Posted by Tracing Is OK
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 7, 2020 at 9:32 am

Tracing (aka tracking) works very well in controlling STDs and no one complains about that.

Tracking & social distancing will assist in curtailing the spread of COVID-19 & I welcome the possible authoritative intrusion as a public health service.

John Lennon once wrote/sang..."Everybody's got something to hide except for me & my monkey" so who care cares about this possible intrusion? The ACLU malcontents?

Speaking of STDs...in NYC, tracing & safe distancing practices have reduced STD cases by 80%.

Tracing is a standard practice for following-up on immigration violations and crime investigations. COVID-19 tracing is no different.


5 people like this
Posted by S_mom
a resident of Community Center
on May 7, 2020 at 11:22 am

I agree that it doesn't seem plausible that she meant a team of 1000 people. Or I hope that's not what she meant, that seems like an insurmountable obstacle. Maybe she meant that we should be able to trace 1000 contacts per day?


2 people like this
Posted by You Will Be Tracked Until Vaccine
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2020 at 12:59 pm

Contact tracing "app" is just a high-tech way of stay-at-home order.
It is useless without availability of rapid, *reliable*, COVID19 test.
Stay-at-home effectively was an assumption that we all were "contact
traced" but no way to actually get tested.

Contact tracing smart "app" does NOT improve health safety, maybe only
for those who trust "smart" apps more than their commonsense by
quarantining them. If we stay at home when we are sick, if we can
get tested for COVID19 with primary care physician when in doubt,
and take the necessary good hygienic practices such as washing
hands, etc. there would be no need to give up privacy to contact
tracing app - giving up privacy and being tracked is NOT reversible!


Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2020 at 1:28 pm

Posted by You Will Be Tracked Until Vaccine, a resident of Midtown

>> Contact tracing "app" is just a high-tech way of stay-at-home order.
It is useless without availability of rapid, *reliable*, COVID19 test.
Stay-at-home effectively was an assumption that we all were "contact
traced" but no way to actually get tested.

Good point. Without more widespread testing, it comes to the same thing.

>> Contact tracing smart "app" does NOT improve health safety, maybe only
for those who trust "smart" apps more than their commonsense by
quarantining them.

For people with minimal public contacts, the app would show "negative" unless your checker at Safeway came up positive. It would be a more efficient way to zero in on people who contacted that checkout clerk.

>> - giving up privacy and being tracked is NOT reversible!

I'm not clear on what you mean. Turn your phone off and you won't be tracked. Remove the app and wipe the data from your phone and you won't be further tracked in the future. Any cell phone can be zeroed in on quickly just through cell tower triangulation. If you don't like that, you better not carry a cell phone.

IOW, please explain why the optional app will be worse, privacy-wise, than how things are now. Are you concerned that carrying a phone will become mandatory?


9 people like this
Posted by Tcpip
a resident of College Terrace
on May 7, 2020 at 1:39 pm

- 'Contact tracing' sounds pretty good unless to stop to think about it.

You're posting to a website using IP. What am I missing?


1 person likes this
Posted by You Will Be Tracked Until Vaccine
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2020 at 3:40 pm

@Anon Regarding:
>> For people with minimal public contacts, the app would show "negative"
>> unless your checker at Safeway came up positive.

If the app's "positive" indication will be informative, i.e. inform the
person about possible contacts, and let the person choose the corrective
course of action, that would be one thing. But, what I hear, is that
a "positive" will force one to be quarantined.
Now, how could the "app" know whether I was wearing PPE, wearing gloves,
masks, etc. protecting myself at the Safeway counter?
Extrapolate that a little further, it really comes down to commonsense.

>>>> - giving up privacy and being tracked is NOT reversible!
>> I'm not clear on what you mean. Turn your phone off and you won't be
>> tracked. Remove the app and wipe the data from your phone and you
>> won't be further tracke
Unfortunately, technology is much more sophisticated, they are just
not transparent about their means. First, turning phone off may not
be practical to all (see my alternate approach of using ID cards below).
Removing the app does not necessarily mean your tracking information
has been removed. The services collaborate, exchange information with
third-parties, so if you have another related app and use it, that
is good enough to track you. Just the same way, websites track you,
know where you came from, and where you click to go next, and retain
that info to track - unless you change the device you use, etc. etc.
Not that easy!

The "anonymized info" they claim can be easily mapped to the person -
when you try to log in to your gmail from a different device or browser
than usual, it sends you a security alert. How does that work? Unless
it tracks you by your device, map it to you gmail id, etc. etc. and
reverse map it.

Lastly, these contact tracers and trackers have no time bound! The people
you associate with, should they get in trouble, you might be on the
radar of "interest" etc. etc. You, basically, would lose control. Not
the quality of life and society we dreamed about.

Here's the alternate way (sent it to Senators and EFF), which relies
on the employee badge type of ID that can be thrown away when you no
longer wish to be tracked:
===
An employee badge ID type of system that does not associate any
individual's identity but just an ID number could be instituted
whereby, an individual may go pick up and ID card from the local
City Hall or public library, and use it. These ID could be scanned
at entry points in stores, supermarkets, restaurants and submitted
to a central database which can map the IDs with other IDs, and
trace IDs that came close to COVID19 carriers. Such an ID based
system would allow one to throwaway the ID card, not be tracked
anymore, when the pandemic is over. But creating a system that
relies and uses the real and only identification information of
individuals such as cellphone ID, it cannot be reverted easily
once the pandemic is over.
===

They are printing cash, so money cannot be the issue. Just the will.
For Safeway type of places, credit card transactions could be used
to notify, again notify, not forcefully quarantine, visitors.
The "apps" may be free but monthly cellphone charges are due.





Like this comment
Posted by Art
a resident of Barron Park
on May 7, 2020 at 3:55 pm

Two points:
First: For folks alarmed about the invasion of privacy, just remember there are always tradeoffs on our rights. For example, there are eveb restrictions on freedom of speech: no shouting fire in a movie theater. Not many people would consider this a terrible imposition given the circumstance and the alternative.
Second: Contact tracing was not possible a month ago given the numbers of folks who tested positive, but we are really doing well because of the shelter in place/ social isolation policies. The number of positive tests in Santa Clara County each of the days this month are many fewer than in April..just a handful or so each day now. From the Santa Clara dashboard: April 4,5,6 had 54,49 and 64 positive tests out of a total of 1526 tests for those three days (positive percentage of ~11 %), while May 4,5,6 had 14, 8 and 3 positive tests out of a total of 2668 tests for these three days (positive percentage of ~1 %). So we are testing many more folks and finding fewer positive tests - and thus not many folks whose contact would need to be tracked and traced.


1 person likes this
Posted by musical
a resident of Palo Verde
on May 7, 2020 at 4:24 pm

What's the verdict on retail businesses required to accept untraceable cash?
Is it legal anymore for a person to be "unbanked"?


1 person likes this
Posted by You Will Be Tracked Until Vaccine
a resident of Midtown
on May 7, 2020 at 4:39 pm


>> First: For folks alarmed about the invasion of privacy, just remember
>> there are always tradeoffs on our rights.
Thank you @Art for acknowledging that is an invasion of privacy.

The tradeoffs should be up to the individuals but they must be provided
complete information and transparency into the operations in good faith.
The free "apps" are not really trustable entities, regardless of the
authors as evident from the number of times they get patched and updated.


3 people like this
Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on May 7, 2020 at 4:54 pm

The rush into this IS an issue.
Don’t get me wrong, I fully respect the fix we are in.
I have wondered about various news stories on tracing, states and other government levels like big counties, big cities, governors’ declarations they will hire x # of contact tracers.
So - new state hires (not just this state, I am following another one, too) will hire random unemployed folks (not statisticians!) and these people will be suddenly declared able to “manage” us. Super.
It’s all we need, more government low-skilled clerks.


Like this comment
Posted by Messifan
a resident of Ventura
on May 7, 2020 at 5:58 pm

@s_mom
I think she does mean 1000. In round numbers SCC is 1/20 of the state. Newsom says he wants to build a team of 20000, which would mean 1000 in SCC if split evenly. The funny part is that she says they are tracking 75/day when currently there are only 20 or so positive per day. So we are already ready to go.

Sometimes I think she does not check the SCC covid dashboard. She says testing per day is 800-1000. The dashboard says we are 1300-1500.

There is no reason we should not move to phase 2 or reopening with the state.


1 person likes this
Posted by Non
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on May 7, 2020 at 11:13 pm

Basically what I have learned from all this is if I have symptoms, I will not take a test ( and be subjected to the spying/ tracing bs) and will ride it out at home( not going to a hospital that will hook me up to a ventilator that will give me blood clots and nosocomial pneumonia that I have a less than 20% chance of getting off of). The tracing is a power grab for control over the sheeple...no thanks


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