New Jersey has put out a call seeking to hire coronavirus contact tracers, a key component of Gov. Phil Murphy’s plan to slowly scale back some the near-lockdown restrictions that have been in place for months.
The positions could be paid or volunteer work, according to a contact tracer registration form on the state’s COVID-19 website. Tracers would be given a 12-part course as state officials plan to have people working every day of the week in the positions.
“In order to work effectively, we will be scheduling people 7 days a week between 8 a.m.- 8 p.m.,” the notice reads on the form.
Gov. Phil Murphy has said widespread testing and a huge boost to the number of people doing contact tracing is needed to safely reopen the state and lift restrictions. New Jersey will need thousands of contact tracers in the coming weeks and months, he’s said.
The governor, in a 6-point coronavirus reopening strategy for the state, said he wants an “army” of people to perform contact tracing so new cases or outbreaks could be immediately tracked and mitigated.
“Whenever a new positive COVID-19 test is returned, we must be able to leverage not just that individual’s recollections, but also employee new technologies to help identify those with whom that individual may have come into contact,” Murphy said late last month when he unveiled the broad proposal. “We will need to recruit and deploy an army of contact tracers whose sole purpose will be to identify these individuals so we can follow up and ensure they do not contribute to further spread of COVID-19."
The governor said health officials recommended the state have “15 to 81 persons engaged in contact tracing for every 100,000 residents.”
“This can mean anywhere between roughly 1,300 all the way up to over 7,000 people to take on this work,” Murphy said.
The state form seeking tracers asks if people are interested in volunteering full or part-time, as well as full or part-time paid positions.
Each worker would not exceed 35 hours a week.