If you’ve got autistic obstacles when it comes even to the most innocuous telephone calls, Willamette Week‘s description of contact tracing should fend off any suggestions you look into it: “Initial calls to people who have tested positive can take an hour or more, as the person on the other end of the line may be hostile, ill or under duress.”

In the past week, WW interviewed five members of the county’s communicable disease team. They’re all working long days and weekends, doing a job that’s less like CSI: Miami and more like conducting a telephone poll. It’s a deceptively complex job: To gather the information critical to slowing COVID-19, they must combine the relentlessness of a bloodhound with the cheery nature of a telemarketer in what can be a life-or-death situation.