Meet one of Onondaga County’s 300 newly-trained contract tracers

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — As more businesses are allowed to reopen in each phase of New York State’s reopening plan, the expectation is that coronavirus will have the chance to spread and infect more people.

That’s why one of New York State’s seven requirements for a region to reopen is that a community has 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people.

Contact tracers are assigned the case of a new coronavirus patient and investigate exactly where they were and who they may have exposed to the virus.

It’s work the Onondaga County Health Department has been doing for the past three months, but the state mandate required the county to look for volunteers in other departments.

Paula Engel, Onondaga County’s chief welfare attorney, was one of the 300 people who responded and is standing by when the health department team needs to outsource the work to other departments.

Those volunteers were trained online by Johns Hopkins, in a partnership between New York State and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s charity.

While Onondaga County is using its own workforce to meet the state mandate, anyone can take the course to see what the process looks like.


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