Michigan launches coronavirus contact tracing. Here’s what you need to know.

Despite widespread testing for the coronavirus (shown above), contact tracing is a key to reopening the economy following the pandemic. The methods are laborious and can be controversial. (Shutterstock photo)

Successfully reopening Michigan’s economy requires government officials to know who has COVID-19 — and who they could have spread it to. 

Without that, health experts say reopening the state may be a major gamble marked by waves of new infections spread by people who don’t yet know they’re sick. 

As Gov. Gretchen Whitmer begins gradually loosening restrictions on residents’ movement, Michigan and other states are building armies of volunteer health investigators to monitor movements of those who have the illness.

“That’s really the best and only way to contain this virus quickly,” Chief Medical Executive Dr. Joneigh Khaldun said Thursday.

A common practice among health officials during outbreaks of sexually transmitted diseases and other illnesses, contact tracing is less well known to the public. That’s bound to change in the age of the coronavirus, as the federal government has allocated $11 billion to states for a host of testing programs including what likely will be the largest contact tracing effort in history.

Until a vaccine is widely available — 2021 at the earliest — contact tracing is key to containing the coronavirus without issuing blanket stay-home orders, said Josh Petrie, an epidemiologist at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. 

“You’re limiting your restrictions to those who are infected, so you’re not having to lock down the whole population,” he said. 

Related: Part nurse, part detective: A day in the life of a Michigan contact tracer

Michigan officials aren’t yet sure how much the state expects to receive for its program but the state’s 3,500 contact tracing volunteers have already begun working with local health departments that primarily lead the effort. The state may hire more professional tracers to do the disease-tracing technique, which is time tested, labor intensive and often raises concerns about privacy. 

In some other nations, contact tracing involves phone-based apps that track movements of COVID-19 patients. They likely won’t be used in Michigan and most U.S. states, but the effort still involves gathering troves of data on patients and those with whom they have come into contact.

And before it started, Michigan’s effort raised controversy when state officials last month canceled a contract with a Democratically-aligned firm hired to manage the state’s contact tracing volunteers after Republicans decried the deal over concerns that patient data could be given to campaigns. 

The state announced Saturday that it had signed a more than $1 million contract on May 3 with Rock Connections, a call center company that is part of Detroit billionaire Dan Gilbert’s business group.

Here’s a crash course on contact tracing, the issues surrounding it and why it’s so vital to get it right to stop the spread of COVID-19. 

What is contact tracing?

It’s essentially public health detective work. 

Every day, thousands of Michiganders are tested for COVID-19. After testing, labs send results to local health authorities who follow up on new positive cases in their community. 

The first step is contacting COVID-positive patients, asking them to isolate at home and quizzing them on recent activities and the identity of recent close contacts. Because Michiganders’ social circles have shrunk dramatically under the statewide stay-home order, building that contact list is fairly easy. 

But once Michigan’s economy reopens, the job will become far harder, said Erin Johnson, disease control and prevention program supervisor at the Grand Traverse County Health Department. 

“One person could have 30 contacts you’re trying to follow up with,” Johnson said.

What is a close contact? It’s not standing in line at the grocery store next to a COVID-positive shopper, said Doreen Byrne, communicable disease coordinator at the District Health Department 10, which covers 10 counties in the northwestern Lower Peninsula. 

But chatting with a fellow shopper without wearing a mask? Maybe.

“They’ve got to be close to someone who was positive — within 6 feet — for 10 to 15 minutes in a small area,” Byrne said.

Once they have a list of recent contacts who may have been exposed to the disease, tracers set about contacting each person on the list to request that they, too, go into quarantine for 14 days.  

Throughout that time, tracers are in regular contact with the quarantined people, asking questions about their health and potentially their other needs such as help with groceries.

“I tell everybody, you shouldn’t leave your house unless it’s on fire, or you need medical attention, or there’s a flood,” said Christina Zilke, a Washtenaw County Health Department nurse who has been working as a contact tracer. 

If a quarantined person starts to develop symptoms, tracers launch a new round of investigation to identify anyone they may have infected within their social circle.


Multimillion dollar effort

Continuing to contain the virus once the economy reopens will take “a massive expansion of professionals and trained volunteers,” according to the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

The association recommends a ratio of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people. In Michigan, that translates into just under 3,000 workers.

For now, Michigan’s contact tracing capacity is limited to staff and volunteers at local health departments, along with 130 state workers, said Jonathan Warsh, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services chief of staff who is leading the state’s contact tracing efforts. 

But the state has tapped into a database of more than 7,000 unpaid volunteers, around 3,500 of whom have been trained in tracing and can start work when needed. 

Other states are making similar plans. New York plans as many as 17,000 tracers, while Ohio will deploy 1,750 in partnership with local health departments and Indiana will contract with a private company to staff a call center with 500.

Michigan also could eventually hire contact tracers. Massachusetts, a state with 3 million fewer residents than Michigan, spent around $44 million hiring 1,000 people to do contact tracing over the coming months. 

Warsh said that’s a comparable cost to what Michigan could expect to spend.

Michigan’s need for tracers will largely depend on the success of social distancing measures. If the coronavirus becomes widespread in communities, “it’s just impossible to trace everyone,” said Petrie, the U-M epidemiologist.

That’s been Detroit’s experience. Although the city’s daily rate of new confirmed cases has waned, the virus is still so widespread that local public health officials are not conducting contact tracing among the general population. 

Instead, Detroit Health Department spokesperson Vickie Winn said, the city’s epidemiologists are focusing their efforts on nursing homes and long-term care facilities.

Winn said the department will tap into the state’s volunteer workforce once those volunteers are available to help. It’s not clear when that will be.

Deploying the army

As with the shortages of PPE, ventilators, testing supplies and more, the fact that everyone is experiencing the virus at the same time is posing a unique challenge, Warsh said. 

“Normally states have the ability to surge support to one another,” he said. “But everybody has to contact trace now.”

The 3,500 volunteers who have been trained to help out have only recently begun working.

That’s partly because the state only this week secured a contract with an outside entity capable of managing the massive volunteer workforce. The state announced Saturday that Detroit-based Rock Connections, LLC will manage volunteers, and Deloitte will manage technology for the tracing program.

The state lost ground on its effort to get a contact tracing program up and running after it canceled an earlier no-bid, $194,250 contract with Great Lakes Community Engagement to manage the volunteers.

The campaign outreach company is connected to a Grand Rapids-based firm owned by Democratic strategist Mike Kolehouse, according to state business records. The company was planning to use EveryAction, data collection software from a tech vendor for progressive campaigns, NGP VAN.

Whitmer, herself a Democrat, canceled the contract after Republicans objected. Attorney General Dana Nessel is now investigating.

The uproar over the contract highlighted privacy concerns about contact tracing, since it involves collecting massive amounts of data about people with illnesses. 

State health spokesperson Lynn Sutfin said the state has taken numerous precautions to protect privacy: Volunteers only have access to names, phone numbers and the county where a close contact lives. Addresses, health insurance, financial information and test results are kept private and volunteers must pass a background check and get trained on confidentiality and privacy. 

Warsh, the state health official, said Michigan officials are also looking into using an automated tool that allows people to opt-in to receive a text or email notification if health officials believe they’ve been exposed. 

What happens in the meantime

While the state staffs up and Whitmer begins to dial down COVID-19 social distancing requirements, local public health officials are bracing for a surge in cases. 

Lifting restrictions before the volunteer workforce is available, experts say, could lead to disaster.

Many local health departments are stretching existing staffing to the limit to meet current contact tracing needs. But staffers currently reassigned to the tracing effort will eventually need to resume performing immunizations, promoting reproductive health and combating addiction. 

“We’ve been able to have all hands on deck at this point, because we haven’t been able to offer our full complement of services,” said Johnson of Grand Traverse County, but the COVID-19 response will be years long. 

“As these restrictions start loosening up, it’s going to be a very scary time for us.”

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Sat, 05/09/2020 - 2:57pm

Thank God, it's our only hope for the economy.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 10:56am


Even as Donald Trump urges getting people back to work and reopening the economy, analysis shows thousands of people are getting sick from Covid-19 on the job.

Recent figures show a surge of infections in meatpacking and poultry-processing plants, The Associated Press reports.

There’s been a surge of new cases among construction workers in Austin, Texas, where that sector recently returned to work.

The White House has proved vulnerable, with staff testing positive.

The developments underscore the high stakes for communities nationwide as they gradually loosen restrictions on business.

“The people who are getting sick right now are generally people who are working,” Dr. Mark Escott, a regional health official, told Austin’s city council. “That risk is going to increase the more people are working.”

There are plenty of new infections outside the workplace in nursing homes, and among retired and unemployed people, particularly in densely populated places such as New York City, Chicago, Philadelphia and urban parts of New Jersey and Massachusetts.

Yet of the 15 US counties with the highest per-capita infection rates between April 28 and May 5, all are homes to meatpacking and poultry-processing plants or state prisons, according to data compiled by the AP.

The county with the highest per-capita rate was Tennessee’s Trousdale County, where nearly 1,300 inmates and 50 staffers recently tested positive at the privately run Trousdale Turner Correctional Center.

The No. 2 county on AP’s list is Nobles County in Minnesota, which now has about 1,100 cases, compared to two in mid-April. There and Nebraska’s Dakota County and Indiana’s Cass County are home to huge meat-processing industries.

Also hard hit by recent infections are counties in Virginia, Delaware and Georgia where poultry-processing plants are located.

In New York, the hardest-hit state during most of the pandemic, people staying at home are still getting sick.

Meanwhile in Pennsylvania, of 2,578 new cases between May 4 and May 6, more than 40% were people living in long-term care facilities.

And across the country many health workers were among the earliest Americans to test positive. They continue to be infected in large numbers.

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 1:01am

You idiot.
You stupid, stupid person.
You communist sympathizer.
The people who are working are the ones getting sick?
But tell me, you dead-headed communist sympathizer, who is dying?
Not the people who are working!
Who gets infected with the flu every year - A flu that is equivalent WITH a vaccine to the coronavirus WITHOUT one? Everybody! Especially the working people!
Keep your TDS and your communism to yourself.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 2:45pm

President Donald Trump’s new spokeswoman, Kayleigh McEnany says we should wear masks in public. Is she a tyrant or just working for one?

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 3:06pm

All of this, yet still no mass random sample of the population to determine how many people have ACTUALLY been infected?
Everywhere they have done this, they have found that at least 1/3rd of the population was infected without knowing it.

We will not be tracked. We will not be traced. We will not answer questions. We have a right to privacy and it will not be taken from us in the name of "safety". That is tyranny, and nothing else. If you have a problem with this then you need to go read the constitution and its amendments.

Time to start using cash for transactions - So they can't trace your credit card.
If they implement bluetooth or wifi-based contact tracing, bluetooth and wifi MAC's can be easily spoofed with an app which will render any bluetooth/wifi contract tracing totally useless.

Those of you supporting this tyranny need to STOP. NOW. You are pushing us to war and that SUCKS.

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 9:33pm

What are you doing that your privacy is so important? You want me to tell you where I was today? I have nothing to hide.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 10:47am

What a terrible argument.
You're willing to allow your constitutionally-guaranteed rights because you have "nothing to huide"?
You are insane.
This is how the Nazi party rose to power in the early 1920's. Because of people like you. Thinking for yourself is harder than you're willing to work. Very sad.

middle of the mit
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 10:15pm

You do know that it was Private Corporations that sided with the Nazis......don't ya?

Verrrrry saaaaad!

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:04pm

By choice, I am more than willing to give up my constitutional given rights of privacy to help myself and others prevent the spread of a virus. Not because anyone tells me I should. I care about people. Which is why I wear a mask when out in public and keep my distance from other. If you choose not to. You have that right. But if you were unfortunate to get the virus and expose others as well. You might consider letting them know.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:27pm

That is a very sad way to think. Our ancestors who died for our freedom would be very sad to hear that you are willing to so easily give up what they gave their lives for.
Personally, I'll die before I give up on the constitution and its amendments.

Jennifer Carter
Sun, 05/17/2020 - 12:20pm

You realize most Michiganders voted to change our Michigan constitution right? The majority doesn't care about what our state policies are based from the constitution. They probably do not know that their yes vote changed the constitution. So which one are you serving? The dead one or the new?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:18pm

You mean like a husband telling his wife when he has an affair and got covid19 from his girlfriend?

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:14am

James- you need to study your history bud... it doesn't take much or long for the enslavement of entire populations. The USA would already have been gone long ago if it weren't for millions of armed citizens. There are some pretty nasty people out there that possess more power than you could imagine and are not looking out for the little man. May want to think that through after brushing up on some history. Here is a little history quote for you, it came from Thomas Jefferson and he knew what he was talking about:

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:30pm

Thomas Jefferson was a slave owner. THAT's your source for freedom vs. slavery, a slave owner?

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 1:03am

Everyone owned slaves back then.
If you had a time machine, and you could go back in time and keep these people from creating the wonderful country that they created, would you? Would you have rather lived under tyranny of the british? Under Nazi Germany?
You stupid, useless troll. Get back under your bridge.

Thu, 05/14/2020 - 8:32pm

Everyone did not own slaves. The majority of people did not, not even in the South. That said, I agree with you about privacy and freedom.

Tue, 05/19/2020 - 5:32pm

You are so right! This is only the beginning and we can NOT give in to this. This is not President Trumps virus, it is China's virus. It has been handled as good as it possibly could be handled, and now we have to get the country open. Unfortunately the president took the advice of people who have underlying agendas for what THEY believe the country should be. Those agendas completely contradict what the Constitution of the United States stands for. I pray the president will continue to use his "instincts" as they have worked for 3.5 years despite horrendous partisan challenges. I am old. I'm willing to be in isolation for the rest of the year if the working people, small business operators, HOSPITALS, can get back to work....some will get sick, work through it, go back to work...that's the way it has to be.
But, I do feel that if nothing else comes of the pandemic, it has exposed things that most people would never have thought of....now they might be. Wake up people; you're being led like sheep!!! Remember, though, "Where there is Evil, there WILL be judgment!"

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:11am

And that's your right, just like it's his not to tell anyone, anything

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:37pm

So it would be bad for our public pool to put a chemical in the water that shows who is peeing in the pool?

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:17pm

Has nothing to do with something to hide but everything to do with giving up our constitutionally protected rights! What flavor of koolaid do you prefer?

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 2:20pm

It's not a matter of having something to hide. It's a matter of the right to not disclose that information. Period. Without due process of the law. I like to call the 14th amendment.

middle of the mit
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:19pm

To Revere and all those who responded to this post.

What have you done over the last........oh I don't know..........20 years?

Fought for the people that gave you the Patriot Act?

Do you know that the Deep State isn't Federal at all?

It has been privatized. I thought Ed Snowden taught you something, what is it called again? OH! Attention deficit disorder.

Heard of the Patriot Act?


Keep pushin!

And I will shove back twice as hard.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:09am

"To Revere and all those who responded to this post." Middle, all those people are one person, "Revere", posting under different names. He is just one sad lonely soul posting all those comments and posting responses to his own posts. Glad to restore your faith in humanity.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:55am

What a pathetic, bizarre way to disagree with someone. I assure you that I only post under one name and have not replied to any of my own posts.
Could you not come up with any valid argument against MY posts and instead decided to launch this pathetic tangent?
Reveridiot is more like it!
If you would like to debate, go ahead. Otherwise, you should go troll elsewhere.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:33pm

Maybe you should cool it with your treasonous talk about war, old man.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:21am

Fascinating - So warning that we are driving straight towards war is treasonous?
If you hear someone in the street warn a driver that they are headed straight for a tree, and the driver does in fact hit the tree, would you charge the person who warned them with causing an accident?
Your logic is totally broken here. Did you have anything useful to add to the conversation?

No to teabaggers
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:20pm

Middle, I know, such fools these so-called patriots are!

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:23am

Sorry I didn't respond to your post before, I didn't see it above the troll posts from Reverend and the like.
I have never voted republican, so I really have no idea what you are talking about.
As I said before, I think you've lost it. Maybe you never had it.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 8:22am

What a simple but naive comment. I believe your heart is in the right place, but when you read history and understand efforts of governments to control people, you might discover how important individual rights are.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:13pm

"What are you doing that your privacy is so important?"

I'm thinking some are afraid people will know they are in the Michigan Militia or wife will find out they're at the strip bar/adult bookshop, not really looking for work, maybe having affairs, usual embarrassing stuff.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 7:39pm

None of your damn business.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:25am

Jesus knows

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 10:32pm

We are living in cities and regions which were stabilized by creating contact tracing for tuberculosis and typhoid.This only occurs if you are diagnosed with covid19.Then they want to prevent its spread.It is already done for tuberculosis and syphillis.I understand your concern for privacy but your cell phone is way more invasive than this process.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 10:49am

Iltefat, there is absolutely no comparison between a real pandemic, and coronavirus. You have no point here.
You are correct that our cell phones are already way more invasive, and this is something that must be fought and destroyed as soon as possible.
The big tech companies must die.

But but
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:45pm

Then you couldn't spend quarantine typing here.

Not #1984
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:47am

Spot on Revere. The Dems/libs/socialists/commies/terrorist sympathizers, one can't even tell the difference anymore, have definitely come out from behind the curtain. God help us all.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:13am

No it's worse, Pandemic, Contagion are more applicable.

Diane Hallinen
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:58am

Actually, New York is the only place that 20% were exposed, based on not that reliable antibody testing. About 60% is required for herd immunity. We are nowhere near that in Michigan. Mitigation sucks, Trump’s administration screwed up on so many levels, containment didn’t have a chance. This is about data, not dates. Body bags stacked in refrigerator trucks will be back i our future. Trump is on Team Corona. I prefer science.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:44am

Science? Data? Your "science" ignores the scientific facts that we don't have a vaccine or anti-body test, we don't know if there will be a permanent vac or just a seasonally effective vac. , whether there will be a second wave or more, who and why some people are more susceptible with much more serious results than others. At this point noone knows the answers to these and other questions. When libs wave the SCIENCE banner and accuse someone else of being "anti-science" , they really mean someone (the "anti-science" folks) who don't like the (their) VALUES based solution they want to stick on everyone else. So much for your "science"! Are you referring to the empty refer trucks, hospital beds, unemployed medical personnel and unused vents sitting out there?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 9:13am

"At this point noone knows the answers to these and other questions.?

I agree and I say this is a pandemic, we are following the science and. most importantly, Matt, Revere, and all of Revere's aliases are full of crap.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:30am

Please be specific of the supposed crap here in my post. Tell what you knowabout this virus. Of course you don't because you have nothing but lefty sputum.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:23pm

First of all, it's "no one", not "noone". Don't they teach that in 3rd grade?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 4:21pm

So that's it? All you got is a typo? That'figures.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:41pm

Whitmer's science and best practices took Michigan from 3rd in the nation to 17th in the nation for new cases?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:24am

Noone, I will assume you are also Reverend since both of these alias are accusing me of posting under multiple names when I post under only one. Fascinating that you cannot fathom more than one person disagreeing with you. Have you always felt this way?

Ryan t.
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:05pm

Detroit field hospital has already been taken down after having treated only 39 people. Half the country has or is opening up the hospital ship already left nyc seeing almost no patients. Most hospitals are empty half of michigan has little to no cases whatsoever. This has been mitigated and is now being used to increase violations of the 4th amendment first amendment and push unconstitutional laws. The original models have been proven false and I am looking foreward to the backlash when people see half the country open and doing fine while the other half loses jobs buisnesses and homes. Guess what seperstes the open half from the locked down half?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 9:15am

Rural hospitals in Michigan are already at capacity.

Not true
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 7:14pm

This is actually false. No hospital in Michigan is at full capacity, rural or otherwise.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:23am

Yep, not yet. It's all a hoax.

Tue, 06/02/2020 - 12:02am

@Ryan t: The hospital ships were not approved to treat coronavirus patients. Quite the opposite; they were in fact ordered to be kept "virus free": https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/30/us/politics/coronavirus-comfort-hospi... No surprise then that they didn't see very many patients.

But what did get a lot of use were the refrigerator trucks that had to be deployed as makeshift morgues while the actual morgues & funeral homes were swamped with Covid deaths: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/02/nyregion/coronavirus-new-york-bodies....

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 8:03pm

You overdosed on the Democrat kool-aid,

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:34am

How do you like the GOP Kool-aid?

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 8:04pm

You overdosed on the Democrat kool-aid,

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 7:19am

Revere, as in Paul Revere?

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 10:49am

Yes. I am here to warn. And I am spreading the information that people need to be prepared to fight tyranny. The war is coming, the modern equivalent of "the british" are already here and have been for some time.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 9:16am

More like "chicken little" or as we like to think crazy "little chicken".

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:28pm

I'm sorry that you have no appreciation for the scores of people who died for your freedom.
You should move to china - You'd love it there. They will tell you what to think about literally everything! You'll never have to even *try* to think again!

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:43pm

Revere, are you a ghost?

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:56am

No - I am a reincarnation.

Morgan G
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:38pm

You sound delusional.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:25am

Do you think that I actually believe I am reincarnated?
What makes you think that?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:57pm

Amazing these folks so willing to surrender their rights...easy to believe a lie.

So sad
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:27am

I know, that's how we ended up with Trump.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:36pm

Such childish nonsense! You should grow up.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 9:18am

You mean like the tyranny of Trump who is NOW mandating that people who work in the WH wear masks?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:44pm

I guess Revere only dislikes female tyrants, not big fat orange male tyrants.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:26am

Anonymous, I've made it pretty clear that I don't like Trump. Pay attention.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:30am

Dude, what's wrong with showing up fashionably late to a pandemic? No one wants to be in charge of leading one of those.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:07pm

Revere, a war? Did you see the motley crew protesting at the capitol? Not the healthiest of troops.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 8:04am

I like what you say but I wonder if enough people will listen. I don’t know if it is tyranny though. Anyway it does sound like big brother just like big tech following my every phone move.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 8:09pm

The reality is that without sacrificing some privacy or tracking, infection will go up and people will go back to “staying at home”. I would pick tracing even via phone over Anymore staying at home .... plus privacy never existed!!!!! Lol they already knew everything and everything is easily spoofed/hacked. Why care about Sacrificing something that never existed for health of people at risk and actually freedom? It’s not like your current live is so private that no one knows about it, if really anyone is interested, they can spend some money and find out everything there is to know about you... lol.... They’re tracing so they can tell you, you might have been exposed! Why wouldn’t you want that? Or you rather risk having the virus and then spreading it to your friends and family and then risk killing them? Seriously what is it so private about your life??? Lol

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:05am

Because the unscrupulous crackpots on the right use a tactic to silence people by harassing them relentlessly like they did to the grief-stricken parents whose children were gunned down at Shandy Hook Elementary School in Newton, Connecticut, denying the carnage happened and calling the parents crisis actors.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:18pm

If you truly want to know how far the virus has spread today, tracking is a poor and costly tool, better to simply test someone in each household then it will tell us for sure rather than tell you that you might be exposed. I would rather know then go through all that tracking for a maybe.

As for simply spending money to find out all they want to know, I would rather people have to spend their own money then have the government spending other people's.

Joe Bleau
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:40am

You're using a "smart phone " to comment.... you're already being tracked. Every second of your life, every non cash purchase, the computer in your car, cameras everywhere. Your medical records are now being kept in large databases with who in charge of them? You better move to deep Alaska and go completely off grid to not be tracked. Burn off your fingerprints, fake your death so your social security# is no longer being tracked. The IRS tracks you too. Oh, and China and Russia have all your info. Don't forget, the Mormons have been collecting information for decades so if any of your blood relatives have done one of those dna ancestry tests you can now be tracked thru that. The cameras on your phone and computer are all spies for the deep state. Bill gates and the elitist democrat cannibal pedophiles know everything about you. I hope you were never vaccinated because the government has been tracking ppl for decades thru that program. Even your hunting and fishing licenses are dangerous becuz of the info they collect. Your boating and driver licenses. And God forbid you have a job that you don't get paid under the table! Also, if you or your neighbors have a baby monitor the deep state is tracking your communications. I sincerely hope you did not allow a hospital to deliver your children. Oh, and even vets are tracking you if you have a pet. The city governments are tracking you thru your pet licenses. Seriously, you gotta get off the grid now. Call the vacuum store for an extraction and get to Alaska asap(tell them Saul sent you).

Go Bleau, please
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:14am

So what have Republicans done to stop or enable all of the above?

GOP sucks
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:34am

Nothing, they're just snowflake whiners. If anything, all their deregulation BS enables big tech to monetize our privacy. Yang was right, at least pay us for your profits from our data. Pay taxes on it too. What is this communism for the rich, free market for the working poor?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:33am

Wait, did congress and the president waive our HIPAA rights?

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:39am

I was wondering the same thing. Was that part of the bailouts that congress passed and the president signed, a waiver of our HIPAA rights? WTF Trump is auditioning for the great and powerful Oz.

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 4:16pm

They're coming to take me away ho ho hee hee ha haaa!

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 6:16am

They got us all.

Cathy Lawrence
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 4:24pm

How do I become a volunteer for this project?

Dave Lindhout
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 6:49pm

Ditto and kudos.

Summer White
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:27pm

Me too!

Nancy Rodda
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:52am

I would like to know how to volunteer and what the requirements are?

john stephens
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:16am

Finally someone who isn't paranoid about conspiracies ,and sees people are trying to do what is right for the masses to get though this crisis. I feel some in society are stirring up the waters of hatred and discontent for reasons I can't quite phantom. Live and let be!

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:50am

Well, social shaming goes a long way these days. People who are tested and submit will find favor with people who want to be healthy and do business. Those who refuse will probably be scorned and suspect.

Keep in mind that while these civil libertarians will fight, kick, scream, and maybe shoot some guns, if they are forced by the government to comply for public health reasons, they will cower in a New York minute when their employers require it.

They will do anything to keep their jobs. Didn't Trump used to enjoy forcing men who worked for him to give him their wives that he thought were hot? Anyway, employers will demands these tests and screenings to avoid liability and increases insurance costs, the way they force you to take drug tests. These people commenting here like they are so tough, will cower like the little snowflakes that they truly are when their big brother boss forces them.

John Dear
Sat, 05/09/2020 - 5:41pm

Finally, I thought contact tracing would have been done 2 months ago! Anyone familiar with epidemic prevention would have known this should have been one of the first prevention methods to pursue.
Sending Wuhan Virus patients back into nursing homes to infect others? (one of Gov. Whitmer's policies). Getting germs from gas pumps? Where the science? Who's managing the health departments?
It seems the state is trying to prolong this crisis not end it.

Sat, 05/09/2020 - 8:52pm

Congrats John, you win the critical thinking award for the day. Don’t worry about having much competition from your fellow citizens for the award in the future. Like good docile little sheep, they can’t wait to get tagged. Michigan and NY are good examples of what not to do and they got the death count to prove it (if you trust the numbers), along with ruined state economies. A two-fer.

Mary Walsh
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 9:46am

Does someone "win" your silly award just by saying "Wuhan Virus" or criticizing Democrats when Republican governors are following the same guidelines? What do you think about the failures on the part of our president, lies, slow to act, failures to act, carelessness, recklessness, refusal to invoke the Defense Production Act?

He said there would be maybe one or even no COVID19 deaths. Yet as of right now at least 80,787 people have died from COVID19 in the US, more deaths than any other country in the world. Objectively, we can all agree that Trump should get the award for worst president in the history of the US.

I don't want to waste much time on a simplistic party hack like you, but please note that Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker (Republican) has over 500 more deaths in his state than Michigan. As of yesterday total cases in Mass were 77,793, in Mich around 47,138. New cases yesterday in Mass 1,050, in Mich 382. In sum, Governor Whitmer is doing a GREAT job, DESPITE the couple of complainers here posting under different names. She took a really bad situation and with her leadership saved thousands of lives by implementing orders and convincing most Michiganders to observe them. We are all hurting, but some of us are volunteering and helping while others, like you, are just complaining.

November can't come fast enough. We need another Obama/Biden comeback!

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 8:13am

Good points. It seems government often means well, especially the people involved, but the systems or processes, that carry the efforts just don’t work. Gas pump handles, credit cards, bags—where’s the science? And yet other activities are verboten. Where’s the logic, the common sense? By my estimate 3/4 of the deaths are in three Detroit counties and yet for 6 weeks the entire state is considered one entity.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 9:54am

Where's the science? Michigan was number three in the country for new cases before the stay at home orders, now Michigan in 17th in the country for news cases.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 4:24pm

A, please study post hoc, ergo proctor hoc.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:49pm

Nihil, M, tempus fugit

April Maddy
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 2:49am

Contact tracing at this time is futile. You are wasting your money.

Just sayin'
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:26pm

"April", WRONG, best time because we flattened the curve, but it would have been better at the beginning when Trump lied to us.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 2:53am

Asymptomatic people have COVID-19. How does contract tracing fit into this?

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:17am

Somebody doesn't understand how contact tracing works...

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 2:55am

According to the CDC website:
"Certain core principles of contact tracing must always be adhered to:
Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting patients with suspected or confirmed infection."

It was suspected by several medical professionals that I have had COVID-19. Was I tested? No. This will not work.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:49am

But watching them try to force this on everyone will be fun! Probably won't happen our gov is a bitcher, commander and whiner not a doer.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:40am

You mean like they do for venereal diseases, STDs? What a gentleman, Matt!

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 2:32pm

Matt, sounds like you are projecting. After all, the governor is in fact a DOER, you just don't LIKE what she is doing, her LEADERSHIP. You on the other hand are bitching, commanding and whining. Am I wrong?

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:49am

Complaining that South Dakota and Nebraska aren't shut down to the extent that she approves and therefore the Pres. isn't doing his job is WHAT?

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:43pm

Yep, you're a clueless feckless whiner.

Ryan t.
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:00pm

Of course it will work if the intention is to gather personal information and contacts but no it will do nothing to help with corona which has largely abated.

Hee Hee
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:44am

Sounds like a lot of you guys are worried about your own FOIA searches to discover illicit affairs, gay encounters, pedophilia, deep state traitors, etc. Good for geese and ganders.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:43am

I bet a lot of white supremacists and people who want to overthrow the government are really afraid.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:09am

Unnamed "experts" in something never tried on a scale this size? Shadow companies asking overly invasive questions? Contracts going to political cronies? Led by a scientifically inept, uneducated Governor...sure that all works, what could go wrong

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:45am

You mean Fauci, the guy Trump couldn't protect.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:45am

I wonder about what the tracking will provide. We heard about it, about finding out the spread of the virus, heard how tracking was used for STD spread, but I wonder what we can expect from tracking for Covid 19.
I can understand how tracking would be important for identifying those that may have had intimate contact with a person infected with an STD. What I wonder about is whether tracking will be as effective as an alternative means for identifying Covid 19 victims. I raise this concern because I have yet to hear that there is a definitive method of virus transfer person to person so how much [time, money, resources] will be spent for non-positive findings. Could it be better [more effective in finding who has the virus] to simply test everyone or a representative from every household, using drive thru testing spots across the state, find out at a fixed point in time [since whether using victim tracking or personal test] will be historic no matter the method used and will exclude knowing who was contacted or how they were infected. It could even compress the time necessary to get the data for medical professional could use.
Another consideration would be a statistical analysis of the infection patterns and use that to develop a spread pattern and probability of infection. It would seem that the infection with Covid 19 is analogous to a chemical reaction tof simple contact between chemicals, that does not ensure a reaction or that a specific isomer will be created, so a person may have contact with an infected person but may not have a contact with the virus, or have contact with the virus but not be infected, or that their normal immune system kills off the virus, or become they infected but not have noticeable symptoms or mild system or severe symptoms, etc. All of those possibilities suggests that contact doesn’t mean that there will be another Covid 19 victim.
I would opt 100% testing all to know the virus status in Michigan and leave the tracking to those infectious diseases that they have proven benefit to find other victims.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:57am

Stay home for 14 days if you were exposed.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 8:48am

We have been [even without being expose, Whitmer order us to week ago] and it doesn't seem the Governor or others believe that is enough so they want to spend millions on tracking. My view is why not test each household and know for sure, and probably save millions and avoid the other issues.

Move it, Duane
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:47pm

Try to keep up, now we want to reopen the economy, need to maintain social distancing, use masks, ramp up testing, and do contact tracing.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 8:47am

You want tracing . I believe that by testing each household [using drive thru testing] will be definitive in the current status of the viruses spread, while tracing will invest innumerable work hours to get a list of people that may have the virus but we won't be sure. Why do you think developing a list of maybes is more accurate/more cost effective the direct testing?

Ryan t
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 11:58am

More anonymous experts. Also it says it wont violate privacy as they will only have your name address medical records and contacts lol yeah thats a big fat nope

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:59am

Did President Trump revoke HIPAA?

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:27pm

No! the curve has flattened. that was the reason for the lockdown. stop moving the goalposts in order to put more Big Brother efforts in place. tracking everyone is orwellian and must be fought.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:51am

What a dumb thing to say! We are not moving goal posts at all, just trying to move forward with the main goal of protecting lives while we don't have a vaccine so we can OPEN the economy. Most of us do not want to keep the economy CLOSED. BTW you are right, the governor's orders and our compliance succeeded in flattening the curve.

Sally Hanselman
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:49pm

@BridgeMI -- Having a comment section is fine, but if people aren't willing to reveal their name and instead use a pseudonym, it leads to lots of nasty discourse and name calling. I think this is where this is headed. I know, people can write John Doe, but at least it's a start.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 7:14pm

You are right comment section has degraded in all this.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:52pm

Says guy who calls the governor a bitcher.

Jaine Dough
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 7:36pm

Hello Sally. There hasn’t been any name-calling or nasty discourse thus far, so why would you insist on people having to provide their true identities? Even if there were, what does it matter? What would you like to see happen to them? Punish them somehow if a post hurts someone’s feelings? This way of thinking is unfortunately the exact reason so many oppose the violations of liberty and privacy that The State continues to pursue.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:02am

I read Bridge for to hear different perspectives on the topics, even the emotions add to the diversity of perspectives. If people are more comfortable in sharing their views using a nom de plume [a well established practice use by successful writers through out history] then I encourage it. There is also the other consideration of fall out, in today's society there are too many that take a name and begin attacking those with that name or with that last name in other settings. Anonymity is a foundation block of our voting system and should be afforded people across our country sharing their ideas. As to the less thoughtful remarks, it is best to be selective in those you respond to, neglect is probably the most effective means to discourage unsavory behaviors. Consider what you respond to, positive recognition, negative recognition, or simply being ignored. Being ignored is the quickest and surest way to end a persons behavior.
As for my into formation, Bridge has it on file so if there something reprehensible in my comments there is access/actions through Bridge, and there are means for exchanging such information outside of Bridge.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:58pm

Yes, people with real names like say "Matt" and prefer ad hominem attacks on the governor while "Revere" adores ad hominem attacks against other posters. I love the exchange of ideas and abhor censorship. You know if you disagree with a "conservative" they quickly go ad hominem, racist, sexist, etc. because they really don't have ideology or scruples. They assume everyone agrees with them.

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 9:29am

First of all, we all know that the left loves race baiting, not the right, and there are staggering amounts of data to support that argument so don't even go there.
Second of all, why is it that you think arguing with someone is an "attack"?
Do you feel attacked every time someone disagrees with you? If so, you should talk to a therapist about this. I promise you there there will always be someone, somewhere in this world who disagrees with you and they have just as much a right to be here and have their opinion as you do.
Lastly, consider that opinions backed by a constitution and its amendments are more important than opinions not backed by such irrevocable documentation ;)

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:45pm


I take exception, I have been labeled a 'conservative' time and again, so when you claim when 'we' react people, such as the Governor, or comments we disagree with respond making 'racist, sexist, etc.' remark. I have been disappointed with Governor Whitmer's actions and proclamation, and when I do comment, I describe why and how she has missed opportunities, and make no personal comments.

Your comments are in effect an example of what you claim 'conservatives' do. If you were actually listening to what I said you would have found something in the thoughts I offer to comment on, rather than claiming racism, sexism, etc., so disappointing.

Wake up sheep !
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 12:53pm

Go on with your life time to recall Michigan govner enough bullshit !!!!! Vote all democrats out of office tell all your friends to help recall Michigan govner!

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:00pm

That's a tough task, now that gerrymandering is gone.

Bob Buckley
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 3:38pm

I find it sad that 2-3 times you mention the original contract to do this tracking and suggest that if it weren’t for the Republican opposition we could have implemented it much sooner. The problem is the Governor or her staff awarded the contract without following the laws of this state.

Susan Shockley
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:01pm


Timothy Burt
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 4:10pm

And who's providing oversight for constitutional violations, you might be afraid not caring about it but the constitution has not been suspended, nor should it be for an illness with a 99% recovery rate. What about HIPPA violations? Or should those get tossed as well?

Robbie Wallace
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 5:29pm

This would be a lot easier if we just distribute testing kits to our townships. Train people at local levels. When people are positive put them on a map in our town. Then we know where they are. Community people can go get them groceries so they don't have to leave home.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:00pm

You mean like a scarlet letter?

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 8:00pm

Hell No!!

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 8:20pm

This is pure tyranny. I will NOT be traced!!

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:14pm

I agree, why is it okay in the WH?

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:50pm

Because Trump is a tyrant.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:11pm

James, James, the chem trails dude. Get over it. Lasers are checking you for fever wherever you go. YOU ARE TRACED NOW.

Sun, 05/10/2020 - 9:11pm

Only the people who test positive. What happens when someone says they have been around you,possibly ? Are they going to make me quarantine?? Maybe I already had it, maybe the person mistook that they might have been by me ? A big"Forget You !!!!!"

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:16pm

First of all, you need to be employed. That excludes all you lowlifes who don't care about others.

Brenda Sackman
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 9:21pm

This is a clear cut case of invading my privacy, I have nothing to hide I don't do a lot anyway, but my medical information is my business and no one else's. Last I check I was still living in the United States of America, and we have rights that were granted to me with the constitution and the bill of rights. This is something that is not necessary for a virus that is only affect less than 1/2 percent of the population. This virus will always be around just like the flu and the common cold. So stop spending all this money of useless bullshit. The state needs to be opened up. Also if you think I had contact with someone that might have the virus are YOU going to pay my bills for the two weeks that I would have to miss work? Stop all this political bullshit and let us get back to enjoying our lives. Most of us are capable of protecting ourselves.

Trump Rules
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:21pm

We get it, you want more government candy, but if this outbreak gets out of hand again, Trump will lose the election. Then what would we do? Do we go to Jonestown?

Old man
Sun, 05/10/2020 - 9:36pm

Seems like phones could be used for tracing. Everyone has a GPS

Wise woman
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:23pm

They are already monetized and being used that way.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 1:10am

Pure bulshit, another violation of our constitutional rights, screw off. Anyone who thinks otherwise has drank the #paranoiakoolaid

Geraldine Smith
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:57am

No body is testing me I'm not sick never have been

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:09pm

That's why the COVID19 deaths are highly under-reported.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:35am

Location Services Now OFF Whitler!

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:08am

Another unreported COVID19 disaster waiting to happen.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 10:00am

Be afraid be very afraid

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:24pm

The sky is falling.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 11:08am

Yeah I don't think so, keep your BS, not complying with socialist BS. I will social distance etc but not doing every scheme . Bahhhhhh Sheep

No way
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:12am

I know. Let's just do social distancing like we are doing now. Why do we have to reopen the economy? Things are great now. We should just honker down until there is a vaccine.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 12:35pm

I say just keep the economy closed until we have a vaccine.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 4:30pm

Of course you do! As long as your gov't check keeps coming you're all set!

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:03pm

No one will go outside with murderers, I mean COVID19 carriers, ruling the streets.

Guy A. Vaive
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 1:57pm

This is a giant waste of time and resources hell the state can't even run the unemployment branch correctly.
Fear Mongering 101

Your dad
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:13pm

As long as your gov't check keeps coming you're all set!

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 5:38pm

This is as racist as it gets. 72 US 2 neither the legislature nor any judicial or executive officer may suspend the provisions of the constitution in case of emergency...

I have a dream
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:15am

Racist? Doing nothing would be de facto racist and walling off the cities/regions with higher concentrations is racist.

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:08pm

How come there was no mention of the survival rate?
Why all the doom and gloom, freaking everyone out?
I've read several articles on this and the survival rate is 97%, 98%, or 99%.
And we are spending BILLIONS on it!!!

Not such great news
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:21am

Here's a mention of the survival rate: In Michigan, 22,000 are ‘recovered’ from coronavirus. Many still feel like hell — Destroyed kidneys, ravaged lungs and liver — the coronavirus that nearly killed some patients leaves them struggling to do everyday tasks long after Michigan considers them ‘recovered.’

Mon, 05/11/2020 - 6:29pm

Hell no. We need to replace any government official that goes along with this Orweillian nightmare.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:25am

I know, right? I say just tell people to stop peeing in our pools. We should just trust everyone. Otherwise just don't go swimming in the pool. The pool is our economy. Just don't support it.

Ray burns
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 8:03pm

No way this is going to happen. This is a fascist attempt at a coup and it will fail and those responsible for the greatest hoax of all time are going to swing from trees

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:23am

I want what you're smoking!

Patti Holland
Mon, 05/11/2020 - 8:12pm

I see major HIPPA violation lawsuits looming in the near future!

Sarah Mitchell
Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:17am

It's HIPAA, but sorry, Trump took that away.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 2:54am

It's simply amazing how far the goalposts have moved. They went from "we need to give the hospitals time to prepare" to "we need to flatten the curve" and now to this "contact tracing" to see who has had it and who they came in contact with. Next will, of course, be waiting for a vaccine (which has already been hinted at) and that could take years. We could have gone the way of Sweden, who has declared herd immunity imminent, and our Rights and economy would be just fine. Anything happening right now is purely unconstitutional AND tyrannical.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 11:35am

One has to wonder, if all these rules are to keep "the most vulnerable " safe, then WHY did our governor allow COVID19 POSITIVE patients to be moved into nursing homes, filled with THE MOST VULNERABLE of our residents, instead of having COVID patients quarantined together? WHY, WHY, WHY??? It almost seems like they are trying to increase the risk to the elderly and invalid. In order to prove a point? Intentionally increase numbers? Because this policy is SO careless and reckless that someone should be FIRED for allowing it!

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 6:31pm

This sounds like the worst idea in the long, sad history of bad ideas. It is actually less feasible than the lockdown continues to be.

Tue, 05/12/2020 - 9:55pm

Would you feel differently if it were polio?

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 2:53pm

No, the children were the primary target and concern and the sufferings was much more visible, and it was the children new it was them who were at risk and there was no hope, no actions or avoidance [nothing was disrupted, it was simply a risk that was learned in a practical way].

Wed, 05/13/2020 - 6:32pm

What an efficient way to get everyone's DNA. Drive thru buccal swabs for Everyone!

Sun, 05/31/2020 - 12:38pm

This is a disgusting article showing how the 'elites' want to brainwash the great unwashed into thinking a virus with a 99% recovery rate is somehow the black death or bubonic plague and we must cower in fear from it. Contact tracing IS NOT THE ANSWER to handling this new bug; developing herd immunity is! I for one will never answer any phone call that I'm not familiar with and would NEVER give them any information they seek. The disease has already run its course and the constant drumbeat of a 'second wave' is simple fear-mongering for the sole purpose of allowing Queen Gretchen to continue her reign of destruction. She is the true virus infecting Michigan.