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How did the State trace so many contacts?

Last Updated: 07/07/2022

As testing of individuals for COVID-19 has increased, so did the need for contact tracers to conduct interviews with individuals who may have come into contact with those who tested positive.

To meet this need, the State developed a Community Contact Tracing Corps with a two-stage approach:

  1. Initially 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, the State has launched the corps and created several hundred jobs. The State now developed its own training for contact tracers.
  2. In June 2020, the State issued a Request for Quotes (RFQ) to solicit proposals from vendors, organizations, and institutions to help expand the Corps across the state. In late July, Public Consulting Group (PCG) was chosen to recruit, employ, and manage contact tracers who can be deployed to areas with increasing COVID-19 cases. PCG has worked to ensure that as many of these new contact tracers as possible come from and reflect the diversity of the communities they will be working in. All individuals are required to complete the Contact Tracing training developed by the State.
  3. Currently (as of May 2022), in line with recommendations from CDC which no longer recommend universal case investigation and contact tracing for all cases of COVID-19, the State is working with PCF to maintain staff to conduct case investigations for high priority cases reported to local health departments including those over 64 yeras and those 18 years and under.

For more on how many contact tracers are working in the State, where they are working, and the latest information on their efforts, visit the Department of Health's COVID-19 dashboard.

Meanwhile, in partnership with Dimagi, we deployde their open source CommCare platform across 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 with our neighbors, including New York State and Philadelphia.

No one outside of our contact-tracing program will have access to CommCare, and all information is archived after 45 days and then stored in the state's epidemiological database.

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 may 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 information is confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts or your COVID-19 status – that information will only be known to public health officials and our local health department partners, if needed. As of February 28, 2022, CDC no longer recommends universal contact tracing, however it is still important to follow guidance and, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, let your close contacts know they should quarantine. You may use this tool to help determine next steps if you've come into contact with someone with COVID-19.

Together, we can save lives and stop the spread of COVID-19.