On Monday, Ali Bauman of CBS2 spoke to a candidate about what it takes to get the job done.
“You too can be a tracer. This is a great second job, “said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
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Cuomo’s farewell joke to reporters earlier today was not pleasant. New York will need 17,000 contact tracers in the coming months – investigators who track down anyone who has recently been in close contact with a coronavirus patient.
“It’s up to us, the contact tracers, to be able to somehow convince them to isolate or consult a doctor,” said Elliot Schwartz.
Schwartz is a retired bronxic EMT. He has just successfully completed Johns Hopkins’ free online course and is now one of 40,000 New Yorkers who have applied.
“What they’re asking you to do is be a local problem solver,” said Schwartz.
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It’s not just friends and family. Tracers must find each delivery person, cashier or colleague with whom a patient has been in contact during the past two weeks.
“Just keep refreshing your memory. What did you do next? Have you seen anyone? Schwartz said, describing the work. “We would call the food company and ask if they know the driver who came to your address at such and such a time and may have them quarantined. “
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Robert Amler is a physician and former chief medical officer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He said that plotters often have science training, but work is much more of an art.
“To interview people in a relaxed and trustworthy environment, build trust and try to have an honest conversation,” said Dr. Amler.
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Nowadays, as most people sit at home, we are all rightly wary of cold calls. Amler said if a plotter calls you, it’s OK to ask for a call back number to verify.
“Make sure the people answering the phone are from the health service or another competent authority,” said Amler.
To reopen, a region needs at least 30 contact tracers per 100,000 population. New York City aims to have 2,500 tracers by next month.