With New York City just days away from entering Phase 1 of its reopening, the city's COVID-19 contact tracers are getting to work, investigating the spread of the disease in the region.
City and state officials have often pointed to data as being the key to reducing the impact of the virus. Contact tracers' help gather data by following leads from people who test positive for the novel coronavirus or COVID-19. Their job is to notify people of when and where they have potentially been exposed to the virus.
"After months of fighting, we are finally able to say that every New Yorker who needs a test will get one," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "With Test & Trace now up and running, we will be able to care for those who test positive and give them the support they need to protect themselves and their loved ones."
On the first day of the program, the contact tracers had conversations with about half of the 600 people who recently tested positive for the virus in the city.
Head of the contract tracing program, Dr. Ted Long says many of the conversations lasted up to an hour. The fact that they got through to so many people, shows the program is working.
There are now 150 testing sites across the five boroughs and any New Yorker can get tested. Find a site by calling 311 or going to nyc.gov/CovidTest.
Raising the CDC-recommended number of 30 contact tracers per 100,000 residents is one of the two remaining metrics the city needs to meet before beginning its reopening.
As of Monday, the city had hired 1,700 people for its contact tracing effort. It needs to reach 2,500 to begin reopening by June 8.
Dr. Long encouraged anyone who was at a protest in the city recently to get tested for the virus.
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