What happens if a contact tracer contacts you?

May 9, 2020, 8:13 AM | Updated: May 11, 2020, 10:20 am
contact tracing...
In this photo illustration, the Australian government coronavirus (COVID-19) tracking app 'COVIDSafe' is seen on April 26, 2020 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)
(Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

A dozen different iPhone apps, a team of researchers, and the phone call from the health department that you don’t want to get. This week on the COVID-19: Seattle podcast, KIRO Radio reporter Aaron Granillo covers contact tracing in Washington state.

Kim Steele-Peter was tracking hepatitis outbreaks at the beginning of the year. Now, she’s the lead investigator tracking coronavirus cases for Tacoma-Pierce County Public Health, and part of Governor Inslee’s “brigade” of contact tracers. She might be the one who calls you if you cross paths with someone who tests positive (or at least, she’s the boss of the person who will call you). Nick Bowman from MyNorthwest joins to talk about his interview with Steele-Peter.

How united is the ‘western pact’ … really?

Once we’re well-versed in the ‘boots on the ground’ approach, Aaron calls Justin Chan, who is part of the joint University of Washington and Microsoft team that’s building a contact tracing app called CovidSafe. Their competition? Oh, dozens of other apps that are trying to do the same thing. And Google. And Apple.

Then, a special feature from the Gee and Ursula Show. Shankar Narayan is the director of the ACLU of Washington’s Technology and Liberty Project. Do we need to be wary of apps that want our health data? (Short answer: Yes!)

And finally, an interview with epidemiologist Dr. Allison Black, who works in the Bedford Lab at Fred Hutchinson. This lab is tracing how coronavirus has spread throughout Washington state and across the globe, by studying tiny genetic mutations in the DNA of the novel coronavirus itself.

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What happens if a contact tracer contacts you?