Governor J.B. Pritzker has announced plans to substantially expand the number of contact tracers in Illinois as part of the multi-pronged approach to control the COVID-19 pandemic. The goal is to have 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people in Illinois.
Contact tracing is a specialized skill that requires training, and involves a bit of detective work, where people who have tested positive for COVID-19 are interviewed to determine everyone with whom they have had close contact during the time while they were infectious. Those individuals are then notified of their exposure, and the actions they should take to limit further spread of the disease. To protect privacy, contacts are only informed that they have been exposed to someone with the infection, not the identity of the person.
The Illinois contact tracer program is being rapidly developed. Skokie residents interested in serving as contact tracers need to take a certification course and apply via the www.illinoishelps.net link. Additional questions can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here is information on two online contact tracing certification courses:
Oakton Community College is launching a "Public Health Contact Tracing Paraprofessional" course. The cost of the course is $299, and can be completed in as little as three weeks. See the OCC website for more information.
The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials is offering "Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers", a free introductory online course for entry-level COVID-19 contact tracers. See additional information.
More information will be shared as it becomes available.