Delaware to hire 200 contact tracers as part of plan to combat COVID-19

DOVER, Delaware (WPVI) -- Approximately 200 Delaware residents will be hired as contact tracers, Governor John Carney announce Tuesday.

Carney said the state has entered into an agreement with the nonpartisan research institution NORC at the University of Chicago to build statewide contact tracing program to contain COVID-19, limit residents' exposure to the disease, and restart the Delaware's economy.

The plan is to test 80,000 Delawareans a month.

NORC also has partnered with the State of Maryland to perform contact tracing. Delaware and Maryland will share information to more effectively monitor COVID-19's spread across state lines.

"To safely reopen our economy, we need to be able to quickly identify positive COVID-19 cases and reach out to those residents who may have been exposed. This contact tracing program brings us one step closer to returning Delaware to a new normal," said Governor Carney. "We've been working with Maryland to coordinate our reopening efforts, and this partnership will build on that collaboration. Going forward, hiring a contact tracing workforce of Delawareans that reflects the diversity of our state will be a top priority."

Over the next week, 100 members of the Delaware National Guard will embed with the Division of Public Health to begin wide-scale, statewide contact tracing.

National Guardsmen and women began their training on Monday.

"I'm proud of our Delaware National Guard Citizen Soldiers and Airmen who volunteered to serve the state in this mission," said Major General Michael R. Berry, Adjutant General of the Delaware National Guard. "Our Guardsmen and women live in these communities and are best positioned to assist DPH with such a critical role to help fight the spread of COVID-19 in Delaware."

Under Delaware's contact tracing program, residents who have tested positive for COVID-19 should expect a phone call from a case investigator asking for information which includes a list of the person's known contacts. Contact tracers will then reach out to each of those contacts to help them safely quarantine, to find alternate arrangements as necessary, and to help them get tested for COVID-19, if recommended.

Delawareans who need extra support to safely self-quarantine - such as grocery delivery or alternative housing - will be referred to a network of local community health workers.

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CASES

The Delaware Division of Public Health announced 12 additional deaths related to coronavirus, bringing a state total to 237. Individuals who have died from COVID-19 ranged in age from 22 to 103 years old.

There have been 6,741 total positive cases. DPH reports 2,802 have recovered.
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