North Carolina will hire 250 people to help with contact tracing in its fight against coronavirus, according to state Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Mandy Cohen.
The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative program will hire people at the local level to help health departments in contact tracing, Cohen said at a news conference today.
The new hires will double the number of tracers in the state.
Cohen said special consideration will be given to the unemployed and those with community engagement experience.
Why contact tracing is important: Contact tracing has helped slow or stop previous epidemics, such as the SARS and Ebola outbreaks. This is because contact tracing allows public health officials to isolate those who came in contact with someone who tested positive, stopping the transmission to other people.
"In contact tracing, public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.