COLUMBIA, S.C. (WMBF) – The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control is looking for people who can become contact tracers.
Contact tracing is becoming a key strategy in slowing the spread of the coronavirus. It’s the process of determining who a coronavirus patient has been in close contact with, so those people can be notified, and they can get tested and be quarantined.
As of May 1, DHEC has increased its number of contact tracers from 20 to 230. The agency performs contact tracing for every positive coronavirus case in South Carolina.
But as the state ramps up its testing effort, it will need more contact tracers. The goal is to have 1,000 by June.
Contact tracers are trained personnel who:
- Contact a person under investigation and conduct an interview to explain the need for isolation.
- Collect information including close contacts who may have been exposed to COVID-19 and notify them of their potential exposure and monitor them for symptoms.
- Perform regular follow-up and monitoring activities and help ensure the safe quarantine of the close contacts.
- Link those under investigation and their close contacts to supportive services, including medical and social resources.
While it helps to have a public health background, it isn’t necessary if someone wants to be a contact tracer.
Those interested will receive extensive training, and they must have good interpersonal skills and the ability to interact professionally with diverse people during these stressful and uncertain times.