Mayor Scott Announces New “Baltimore vs. COVID” Campaign to Support Contact Tracing Efforts in Baltimore City
Monday Dec 21st, 2020
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BALTIMORE, MD (Monday, December 21, 2020) — Today, Mayor Brandon M. Scott called on Baltimore City residents to assist Baltimore City’s COVID-19 contact tracers, debuting a series of new advertisements to encourage Baltimore City residents to answer contact tracing calls from the Baltimore City and Maryland State Health Departments.
“This campaign is crucial in spreading awareness about COVID-19 contact tracing in Baltimore City,” Mayor Brandon M. Scott said. “Contact tracing is a key part of the public health toolkit for fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and we need all of our residents to play their part to ensure that the public health of all Baltimoreans is safeguarded.”
A joint initiative between the Mayor’s Office of Performance and Innovation and the Baltimore City Health Department, the new advertising materials feature messaging based on insights from focus groups with Baltimore City residents, City contact tracers, and public health experts.
“We’re excited that the Mayor’s Innovation Team, which is supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, was able to use their people-centered innovation process to understand current challenges and concerns around contact tracing, and create a campaign that encourages positive behavioral change to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” Dan Hymowitz, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Performance & Innovation, said.
“With Baltimore City’s COVID-19 case numbers at record highs, contact tracing remains one of the most effective ways to accurately track and limit the spread of the disease,” said Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “We know that there are many people right now who are moving around Baltimore City, interacting with their friends and coworkers, feeling fine but unknowingly spreading the disease. We urge all residents to keep track of their contacts, and pick up the phone to provide as much information as they can when a contact tracer calls.”
The “Baltimore vs. COVID” public health campaign features local residents and language unique to Baltimore. Based on insights gathered from extensive focus groups and data analytics, the new advertisements address common concerns about privacy, data collection, and distrust of government that prevent some City residents from answering and completing contact tracing interviews.
“To our residents: rest assured knowing that these calls are completely confidential. Our Health Department's contact tracers will NOT share the information that you provide to the police, immigration, or even the IRS,” said Mayor Scott. “Please, be honest in answering the phone when a contact tracer calls, and be sure to tell them where you’ve been, and who you’ve been with. Not answering those questions, or providing the information of those you've come into contact with is limiting our ability to accurately know where the spread is occurring. I cannot stress enough that when “MD COVID” calls, it is your duty to answer the phone.”
Baltimore City residents will soon see “Baltimore vs. COVID” advertisements on social media, radio, and printed materials. Residents are encouraged to see the latest COVID-19 case numbers and information about Baltimore City’s response to the pandemic at coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov.