California Gov. Gavin Newsom said in May that contact tracing those who test positive for coronavirus would be crucial to reopening the state’s economy.
Contact tracing is used to identify who may have been in contact with those who test positive for coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control explains that contact tracers will “identify an infected person and track down every person and location that might have been exposed ‘for a prolonged period of time’ during the incubation period. They’re not told the identity of who might have exposed them.”
Initially there was talk of identifying the contacts and quarantining: “The tracing component requires workforce and to identify individuals who tested positive…to ID their contacts (with privacy) and maybe quarantine individuals to stop the spread of the disease,” Newsom said.
Many state employees have been redeployed to training as contact tracers, but the California Department of Public Health is apparently looking for a lot more.
A source in state employment forwarded this email message to California Globe:
Subject: Call for Additional Volunteers: COVID-19 Disease Detectives
As our CEO Marcie Frost alluded to in her weekly webchats, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) needs additional contact tracers to support state and local public health departments. This morning the Government Operations Agency (GovOps) reached out stressing the need for additional tracers for classes starting next Monday.
Contact tracers or “disease detectives” are responsible for interviewing individuals who test positive for COVID-19, identifying and locating their known contacts, and monitoring and supporting those who must self-isolate. Contact tracing is critical to help contain the ongoing pandemic while the state looks to modify the stay at home order.
CalPERS is seeking additional team members with immediate, full time availability to be redeployed to the CDPH for at least six months to assist in this effort. Interested team members should complete this survey no later than 2 pm today.
As public servants, our highest calling is to serve the people of the state, and now more than ever they need us for this urgent COVID response that could be a matter of life and death for thousands of people. We apologize for the short notice but with the increasing COVID numbers, it’s imperative we get people trained and ready for deployment as soon as possible.
To learn more about California’s contact tracing efforts please visit: https://covid19.ca.gov/contact-tracing/
Questions may be directed to Sophia.Ferro@calpers.ca.gov
Initially Gov. Newsom said he wanted to hire 10,000 contact tracers statewide, but upped that amount to 20,000.
A recent Washington Times article summed up the creepiness of contact tracing. Imagine you are notified by a stranger on your cell phone:
“‘Hey, you’ve been in contact with someone who’s tested positive. Can you quarantine?’
That’s what should be the normal reaction to a telephone caller who identifies as a member of the government, professes to have information about your whereabouts in recent times, claims to have the inside scoop on personal and private health and medical information — and then suggests you stay at home for a couple weeks. Off the streets. Out of work. Away from the public and people.
George Orwell couldn’t have penned a more frightening scenario.”