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COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: Experts Warn They Can't Control The Virus' Spread If People Don't Answer Contact Tracing Questions

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - For the second day in a row, Allegheny County hit 500 new coronavirus cases. This high case number is overwhelming the contact tracers as they try to pinpoint the hot zones.

"At this point, I would say the whole United States is a hot zone; 180,000 new cases a day, it's everywhere," said Dr. Tariq Cheema.

Dr. Cheema is on the front lines when it comes to COVID-19 patients at Allegheny General Hospital.

"There are some people who have been trying their best to do the right thing and they still get COVID. Those are the types of folks who have the anger: 'why did I get it?' The disappointment one is maybe someone who maybe dropped the ball once, they weren't as careful as they should have been, they went to a restaurant once and got COVID," Dr. Cheema said.

The biggest problem across the board is the guilt.

"It's a real thing, COVID guilt. People test positive, they're concerned about their loved ones and there's a sense of guilt they may have done something or been at a party or in a public space and contracted the disease and may have transmitted it to a loved one," Dr. Cheema said.

It's an issue contact tracers are running into as people are fearful of sharing the whole truth because their actions may have impacted others.

"The number of people who have reported going to a business or large gathering 14 days prior to the onset of symptoms for the week of November 1st through November 7th, now only 16 percent of people that have been asked that question have actually answered that question," said Dr. Rachel Levine.

Without accurate information, there is no way to pinpoint the hot zones or activities.

As the numbers continue to rise, Dr. Cheema said it's near impossible for the contact tracers to keep up, so you have to protect yourself.

"I'm seeing people who have contracted COVID and have no idea how they got it. What I'm telling everyone right now is that you have to assume every person you meet may have COVID, especially when you see community spread this high. You have to have that mindset," Dr. Cheema said.

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