Shelby County planning to hire 100 COVID-19 contact tracers

Shelby Co. contact tracers look for possible exposures

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - They are called contact tracers. There is nothing new about the job, just the disease COVID-19, and with Shelby County reopening the health department will be ramping up their numbers of contact tracers.

“If you see a number that starts with 222 and you just recently have taken a coronavirus test please pick up the phone," said Lloyd Kimble with the county health department.

The person calling is likely a contact tracer from the Shelby County Health Department and you are being contacted because someone you came in contact with tested positive for the coronavirus.

Kimble is over those contact tracers. They track someone infected with a disease and who they have come in contact with, in this case the disease is COVID-19.

Shelby County Testing Must be Increased before Reopening Phases Begin

The health department knows who has tested positive and that person tells the health department who they have recently been in contact with and those people are asked who they have been in contact with.

“Typically what we need most is a name and a phone number and if we use that to reach out to the contact and let them know you have been around someone who has been diagnosed with coronavirus and these are the steps you need to take," said Kimble.

Those steps are quarantining for two weeks, monitoring your symptoms if you get any and then what to do next. Your information stays private.

The phone call can last from 20 minutes or longer depending on how many questions the contact has. Kimble says some people are not happy about the phone call but he says it is important to track the disease especially now that Shelby County is reopening.

“It’s important that they let us help them so they can protect their household, protect their neighborhood.”

Right now the health department and city workers are doing the contact tracing but they will soon need to go back to their regular jobs.

The health department will be hiring more than 100 contact tracers. The jobs will be posted on the county’s website.

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