Diagnosed positive for SARS-CoV-2 in July, Thomas, 29, warned his two friends with whom he had lunched shortly before the onset of his symptoms, to be tested. But he did not report it to Medicare, so as not to force his tennis teachers to isolate themselves for a week. “They have to manage ten kids, it would have been complicated for them”, he justifies.
Like him, many people infected with SARS-CoV-2 who participated in our call for testimonies assume not to have communicated all their contact cases to the investigating agents. The latter must identify and call as quickly as possible people who have been around patients for a long time or closely (face-to-face less than two meters without a mask, simultaneous presence in a closed place for a quarter of an hour without protection, etc.). They are ordered to get tested and to isolate, unless their vaccination schedule is complete, to avoid infecting other people.
The mechanism is encountering difficulties, according to data from “Contact Covid”, the file filled in by the agents. Each person now reports an average of just 1.4 contacts, a number that has fallen since the week of June 21 – topping 2.7 in March. Now, nearly half of people with Covid-19 (49.3%) report no contact at risk, compared to only 35.8% in June, according to the latest report from Public Health France (SpF). Only 16% of new patients were previously identified by Medicare as contact cases by relatives.
This drop in indicators worries the health authorities: in its weekly press briefings, SpF has repeatedly recalled the importance of “Membership in” contact tracing “”. The stake – breaking the chains of contamination – is high, especially since viral circulation is strong.
Places of mixing of the population
Jean-Baptiste Calcoen, national coordinator of “contact tracing” at the National Health Insurance Fund (CNAM), offers several explanations.
First, the wide reopening of party and leisure establishments, where population mixes take place, and where the tracing of contact cases is becoming more complex. Out in an outdoor bar on the weekend of August 15, just before the onset of his symptoms, Nicolas, 33, explains that he could not give the names and contact details of strangers crossed that evening.
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