Contact Tracing Opportunity
Contact Tracing Information and Job Portal
Contact tracing, a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel for decades, is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting patients with suspected or confirmed infection.
In contact tracing, public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious. Public health staff then warn these exposed individuals (contacts) of their potential exposure as rapidly and sensitively as possible.
To protect patient privacy, contacts are only informed that they may have been exposed to a patient with the infection. They are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them.
Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill.
Contacts are encouraged to stay home and maintain social distance from others (at least 6 feet) until 14 days after their last exposure, in case they also become ill. They should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for cough or shortness of breath. To the extent possible, public health staff should check in with contacts to make sure they are self-monitoring and have not developed symptoms. Contacts who develop symptoms should promptly isolate themselves and notify public health staff. They should be promptly evaluated for infection and for the need for medical care.
Recently, Governor Murphy highlighted the state’s effort to build a contact-tracing corps that will supplement the roughly 800 staff and volunteers now doing this work on a local and county level. The governor said the state would tap public health students at Rutgers University and other colleges for assistance, plus contract with a staffing company to hire additional tracers.
Murphy said contact tracers will be paid $25 an hour, and will either be employed by the state, Rutgers or the contractor, officials said. (Interested individuals can also sign up online.
The state will foot the bill for a new technology platform to provide training and data-collection functions for all contact tracers, regardless of where they are deployed, officials said. Their findings will be compiled in a central state database, although the privacy of those who test positive will be protected, according to DOH.