Tennessee Dem House Chair Wants ‘Statewide System to Trace the Steps’ of COVID-19 Patients


Tennessee House Democratic Caucus Chair Mike Stewart (D-Nashville) called on Gov. Bill Lee to create a “statewide system to trace the steps of those testing positive for COVID-19.”

“I call on Gov. Lee to use state resources to create a statewide contact tracing system including testing where necessary,” Stewart said in an interview with WKRN.


Stewart said Tennessee should follow Massachusetts in implementing a contact tracing system, which will employ nearly 1,000 “contact tracers” who will meet with COVID-19 patients throughout the state to determine who they have had contact with.

“They are hiring hundreds of people to conduct this critical business about who has been exposed to COVID-19 and seeing whether testing is required,” Stewart added.

North Dakota has launched an app that residents can voluntarily use to track who they have had contact with, according to The Bismarck Tribune.

“You stay healthy for this whole thing, then you’ll never need to ever look at this app,” North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum said of the state’s new Care19 app.

“If you find yourself in two weeks, or four weeks, or six weeks from now, you’re one of those individuals that test positive, or you’re in close contact with someone who tested positive … you pull up your Care19 app, and you’ll be able to provide information about where you’ve been,” he added.

One of the main concerns surrounding contact tracing, a fancy term used to describe the process of determining who has been exposed to COVID-19 patients, is its potential for violating privacy rights.

Researchers with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) claimed they have developed a contact-tracing system that maintains “the privacy of those who are COVID-19 positive.”

“The system relies on short-range Bluetooth signals emitted from people’s smartphones. These signals represent random strings of numbers, likened to ‘chirps’ that other nearby smartphones can remember hearing,” MIT explained in a press release.

“If a person tests positive, they can upload the list of chirps their phone has put out in the past 14 days to a database,” the release continued. “Other people can then scan the database to see if any of those chirps match the ones picked up by their phones. If there’s a match, a notification will inform that person that they may have been exposed to the virus, and will include information from public health authorities on next steps to take.”

Daniel Weitzner, a principal research scientist in the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, said the contact-tracing system doesn’t track location or use GPS.

“What we want is to enable everyone to participate in a shared process of seeing if you might have been in contact, without revealing, or forcing anyone to reveal, anything,” he said.

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Anthony Gockowski is managing editor of The Minnesota Sun and The Ohio Star. Follow Anthony on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Mike Stewart” by Mike Stewart. Background Photo “Tennessee Capitol” by FaceMePLS. CC BY 2.0.







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13 Thoughts to “Tennessee Dem House Chair Wants ‘Statewide System to Trace the Steps’ of COVID-19 Patients”

  1. Ron Welch

    Let’s trace every Tennessee politicians’ legislative proposal that violates any of the wording of the Tennessee Constitution’s Declaration of Rights and have them immediately removed from office.

  2. Cannoneer2

    Look at the bright side! Businesswhiners will be able to dragoon their people back to work faster if this is put into place.

  3. Cannoneer2

    Rep. Stewart’s plan is exactly what we need to defeat this. Covid 19 isn’t registered as either Republican or Democrat, and has no brain to care about either. Lets get this stamped out regardless of which party comes up with the correct solution.

  4. Susan E Gingrich #Patriots Reborn

    As slow as government works, COVID-19 would be gone before TN special interests drafted the legislation for the dems!

    1. Cannoneer2

      Or before the Chamber of Commerce could write competing legislation for the Republicans!

  5. Julie

    1,000 more bloated government jobs that our budget can’t support.

  6. rick

    Why should we ever trust any Democrat they have not helped the President one bit., They are liars (did our Mayor say he would not raise taxes , well look now) and they are trying to use this situation to their benefit, they do not care about the people only their political party. Keep your ideas to yourself Comrade! Democrats are the virus!

  7. Sim

    Ya’ll best hang on to your hats,

    none other then “GOOGLE” wants to do the same thing, “NATIONWIDE”.

  8. Robert Marsh

    He must have gotten the idea from China or Russia. There is so much wrong with this who know where to start.

  9. Kevin

    Great idea, Comrade! How about we try one on Mike Stewart first!

    This isn’t a slippery slope. It’s a cliff! Once we go over it, who’s to say that when the next “lethal” hang-nail crisis hits, some bozo will propose turning the tracking system on and just leaving it on. Or like with the FISA court, just use it against people that oppose your view point.

  10. Angelito

    This man is dangerous.