The COVID-19 crisis has caused an overwhelming need for contact tracers across the country. But you may be wondering, what exactly is contact tracing? The Illinois Department of Public Health explains that the primary goal of contact tracing is to interrupt the ongoing transmission of a disease and reduce the spread of infection. The role contract tracers play is focused on warning people who have been exposed to COVID-19 to stop more transmissions. Those who have been exposed to COVID-19 are told to self-quarantine, and if they test positive, can be linked to care. Contact tracing also helps healthcare and disease prevention groups track the disease and how its transmission impacts certain populations.
The need hire more of these essential public health professionals has also exposed a need for mass training programs. Johns Hopkins University is offering a free introductory course for students interested in becoming tracers. During the course, participants will learn about how contact tracing is done, including how to build rapport with cases, identify their contacts, and support both cases and their contacts to stop transmission in their communities. Additionally the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials is offering a free course to help train individuals interested in entry level contact tracing positions. States and regions are working to define the training and preparedness contract tracers will need. Currently Illinois has not released its official training standards.
What Does a Contact Tracer Day-to-Day look like?
According to the IDPH Contact Tracers will perform the following tasks:
- Notify those who have been identified as COVID-19 contacts.
- Communicate quarantine requirements and check in daily during this period to monitor developing symptoms
- Connect COVID-19 contacts to a Case Investigator and support services as needed.
- Required skills and attributes for this type of work include:
- Good customer service
- Excellent communication skills
- Attention to detail and organization
- The ability to work flexibly in a changing environment
- An understanding of cultural competencies when working with diverse communities
- Being comfortable using a computer, internet, and other applications
- The ability to maintain confidentiality and complete HIPAA training requirement
Interested? Check out our upcoming jobs section to apply today!