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How is the State tracing so many contacts?

Last Updated: 05/13/2020

As testing of individuals for COVID-19 increases, so does the need for contact tracers to conduct interviews with individuals who may have come into contact with those who tested positive. It is estimated that at least 1,000 and as many as 5,000 contact tracers may be needed in New Jersey.

To meet this need and expand on the existing group of 800-900 contact tracers, the State is developing a Community Contact Tracing Corps with a two-stage approach:

  1. Partnering with the State's higher education institutions to train public health graduate students and alumni to engage in contact tracing activities in their home communities. In partnership with Rutgers University, led by their School of Public Health and including the School of Health Professions, School of Nursing, School of Social Work, and Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology, we will launch the corps and create several hundred jobs. We will also be expanding the effort to include other colleges and universities throughout the state.
  2. Announcing a Request for Quotes (RFQ) to solicit proposals from vendors, organizations, and institutions to help us expand the Corps across the state.

The goal of the Community Contact Tracing Corps is to support Local Health Departments in meeting operational demands by providing additional contact tracing capacity on an as-needed basis.

In addition, in partnership with Dimagi, we will deploy their open source CommCare platform across the New Jersey to centralize the State's contact tracing efforts.

Collecting information in a uniform way makes it easier for health officials to share information and to track the virus across New Jersey. When time is of the essence, we cannot lose any of it trying to work across different platforms. It will also ensure connectivity with contact tracers in our neighboring states, especially New York and Pennsylvania.

Above all, you are the key to our ability to stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you are called by a contact tracer, we need you to answer the phone so we can let you know about the risk to you and your family and provide you with information to protect your loved ones and your community.

You will be asked to share your close contacts. That information is used ONLY for the purpose of helping those people to get tested or to quarantine. Your identity is kept anonymous and your information confidential, and we will never share with your contacts who gave us their information.

Together, we can stop the spread of COVID-19 and safely restart our economy.

Source: Governor's Remarks 5/12/20; https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200512a.shtml