GILBERT, AZ (3TV/CBS 5 ) -- Ken Moskowitz is still recovering from COVID-19 after testing positive on January 1.

"Initially, I started with a cough, then I lost my sense of taste and smell, which seems to be a common thread for most people who get COVID," said Moskowitz.

Forty days after the Gilbert dad was diagnosed, he received a letter in the mail from the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, stating he'd tested positive for COVID-19 and needed to make friends and family members aware that they may be at risk.

"It was talking about notifying people I was around and people I've been in contact with," said Moskowitz. "Well, what good does it do 40 days after the infection?"

Arizona's Family reached out to Maricopa County officials and were told:

"Letters about positive test results are a communication of last resort after all other communication methods (including by text and phone call) have been attempted and failed. So naturally, a letter is going to arrive later."

But six weeks after a positive test? Will Humble is the Executive director of the Arizona Public Health Association. He said with COVID cases 'sky-high' in January, it's entirely possible that some contact tracing slipped through the cracks.

"Contact tracing is an effective tool when you have a manageable level of community spread," said Humble. "When community spread goes off the charts like what we have seen for 2 1/2 months now, contact tracing is really not a very effective tool."

State and county health officials insist that their goal is to reach people within 48 hours of their COVID-19 test results, to identify who they may have exposed and follow up with contacts. Moskowitz wonders if others received a late letter, as well.

"How broken is our state that this happened," said Moskowitz. "That letter that came from the county health department should have been within 24 hours of my exposure; that's the way things like this need to be handled. That would help mitigate the spread."

According to Maricopa County officials, they often rely on patients to leave a correct phone number on their medical forms to make it easy to reach them. If they can't be reached by phone, they are sent a letter.

Jason Barry is best known for his Dirty Dining Report which airs Fridays at 6:30 p.m. on CBS 5.  He is also the storyteller behind CBS 5's Pay It Forward which airs every Thursday at 6:30 p.m.
 
 

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