Want to help slow the spread of COVID-19? Here’s how you can become a contact tracer

North Carolina news

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – There is now a free online course available for people interested in becoming a contact tracer.

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health launched the free curriculum in order to get more people to apply to become contact tracers around the country.

Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, Vice Dean for Public Health Practice and Community Engagement, Bloomberg School of Public Health, said contact tracing will help states reopen with lower risk.

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The course takes about six hours to complete and is available online.

“You can go in there with contact tracing and slow the spread of infection so much that you don’t need to do more economic shut-off,” Sharfstien said. “This is like security for not having that kind of damage to the economy that we’ve had so far.”

He said the purpose of contact tracing is to break chains of transmission of the coronavirus. When a person tests positive for COVID-19, a contact tracer conducts an interview to identify the person’s close contacts during the course of their illness. The contact tracer then notifies each contact of their possible exposure and asks contacts to quarantine themselves for the appropriate length of time.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is looking to hire up to 1,000 contact tracers. The state teamed up with Community Care of North Carolina and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers to help stop the spread of COVID-19.

“Extensive contact tracing is a key strategy for North Carolina to stay ahead of the curve,” said NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D.

Recruitment is underway. Interested applicants should visit the collaborative’s website.

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