Broome County Officials say you may end up taking unwanted calls from telemarketers but it is essential you answer your telephone even if you don’t recognize the number or the call is from the 518 Albany area code since it may be a COVID contact tracer.

Woman dialing cell phone

Many tracer calls are being missed by people not answering their phones.

Broome County’s Health Department Director Rebecca Kaufmann says they have heard from people who thought they should have been contacted by a tracer but didn’t get a call and many times, a check turns out the officials had called several times with no answer.

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County Executive Jason Garnar says many people have gotten in the habit of not answering calls from numbers they don’t know to try to avoid scams, telemarketers and political calls.  Given the current circumstances with the pandemic, Garnar says people really need to answer their phones so anyone infected can be isolated and placed in quarantine.

Of course, that advice doesn't apply if you are getting a call, say from Montana or Zabmia.

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