At today’s COVID-19 press briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy presented details on the state’s growing contact tracing program.
“A robust and comprehensive contact tracing program is essential to our ability to continue our road back over the long term,” Murphy said.
There are roughly 900 contact tracers currently in New Jersey, whose job is to identify the people who have been in close contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19 in the days immediately before the positive test result.
“Close contact,” in this case, is defined as being within six feet of someone for 10 minutes or more.
The contact tracer then notifies these “close contacts” that they may have been exposed, and urges them to get tested, helps them find a testing site, and recommends self-quarantine.
“As we undertake more steps in our restart, we will bring on more contact tracers,” Murphy said. “Our contact tracing program is meant to supplement and further support the great work of our local health departments.”
Murphy said that each step of New Jersey’s restart will be accompanied by the onboarding of more contact tracers.
He added that he anticipates that at least 1,600 additional contact tracers will be onboarded in June, and that a total of 4,000 or more contact tracers could be added over the course of the summer if need be.
So far, there have been more than 50,000 submissions of interest on the state’s contact tracer information page, according to the governor.
Contact tracers will be trained by Rutgers School of Public Health and local health departments, and undertake a full curriculum that, aside from data analysis, includes a focus on interview skills, ethics and privacy.
New Jerseyans that are called by a contact tracer may be asked:
More information about contact tracing can be found at covid19.nj.gov/testandtrace
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