The New York's contact tracing pilot program, with leadership from Mayor Mike Bloomberg, has begun. This nation-leading tracing program will focus on areas with the highest rates of infection and on regions where data shows could be the first to open. The program will operate through the next flu season, and it will be implemented in coordination with tri-state neighbors New Jersey and Connecticut.
The program will include a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 individuals and will utilize additional tracers based on the projected number of cases in each region. The program is expected to have 6,400 to 17,000 tracers statewide depending on the projected number of cases. Contact tracing teams will work remotely with state-of-the-art software to develop a secure database of information on the spread of the infection.
Contact tracing will help prevent the spread of COVID-19 with four key steps. First, labs will report positive cases of COVID-19 immediately to contact tracers on a daily basis. The contact tracer will then interview the positive patient to identify people they may have been in contact with over the past 14 days. The contact tracer will notify and interview each contact to alert them to their risk of infection and instruct those contacts to quarantine or isolate for 14 days to be sure they don't spread COVID-19 to others. The contact tracers will monitor those contacts by text throughout the duration of their quarantine or isolation to see if the contacts are showing any symptoms.
"We know increasing our testing capacity is the key to re-opening New York, and the second step after testing is tracing to find out who tested positive, who they contacted and then isolate those people so you don't increase the rate of infection," Governor Cuomo said. "Tracing is not hard on an individual basis -- the problem is the massive scale and with an operation that has never existed before. We need our contact tracing program to come up to scale to meet what we're doing with testing as soon as possible, and we are working with Mike Bloomberg now to build an army of tracers to meet the state's demand so we can begin this operation immediately."
Starting in May, the state is looking to hire as many as 17,000 contact tracers as health departments across New York prepare to launch an investigation more than two months into a pandemic that has killed more than 26,000 people in the state.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also announced that the city is hiring 1,000 contact tracers.
It's part of the city's attempt to contact and trace every COVID-19 case plan announced last week.
Contact tracers must have a background in health; help, trace, isolate, and support all New Yorkers with confirmed Covid-19; and interview and identify contacts, connect them to isolation and support.
If you are interested in a position or know someone who is qualified, applications are being accepted at fphnyc.org
Contact tracers who identify people who have been exposed to COVID-19 are in high demand across the country.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls contact tracing "part of a multi-pronged approach" to tackle the coronavirus pandemic.
A contact tracer in NYC can make a $57,000 salary with benefits and work remotely.