Pennsylvania to spend up to $ 27 million and hire thousands of workers for contact search efforts – CBS Pittsburgh

HARRISBURG (KDKA) – Pennsylvania will spend tens of millions of dollars and hire thousands of workers to search for contacts during the Coronavirus pandemic.

This and more was revealed at a meeting of the Pennsylvania House Democratic Committee in Harrisburg this morning.

Tracking contacts is one of the ways we can stop the virus from spreading.

Lawmakers learned this morning that the Pennsylvania Department of Health will spend up to $ 27 million to trace contacts.

And they must hire up to 4,000 employees to do the job.

Contact tracing is locating people who have come into contact with other people infected with COVID-19 and asking them to be quarantined. When combined with masking, social distancing, and testing, contact tracing is a great way to curb the spread. Squirrel Hill State Representative Dan Frankel spoke about its importance during a meeting of the Democratic House Committee this morning.

“Contact tracing and case investigation, which comes from contact tracing, is absolutely essential if we are to be able to safely reopen parts of our economy and get children back to school,” Frankel said.

The Pennsylvania Department of Health has been authorized to spend up to $ 27 million on contact tracing. Even though they say they have been doing a good job, they still need to hire 3,000 to 4,000 additional workers to do the job. A big problem is that many people don’t want to cooperate with contact trackers.

“We empower our people to talk to them about the importance of that information and why it is important to keep their families and communities safe,” said Lindsey Mauldin, Special Assistant, Pennsylvania Secretary of Health.

Tracing contacts is routine. It’s already being done for diseases like HIV and hepatitis C. But tracing the coronavirus in Pennsylvania is more difficult as the virus continues to spread. So they spend millions and hire thousands. And it has already affected the way we handle the virus.

“This is how we identify that restaurants and bars are a source of our highest infection rate here in Allegheny County,” said Frankel.

There is a tool on the horizon that could make a significant difference in contact tracking. An application is being developed. You can install it on your phone and it could tell you if you have been exposed to the virus. That could be available in Pennsylvania next month.