WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services has established the Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
This new initiative is a partnership with Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) and the North Carolina Area Health Education Centers (NC AHEC) and is part of Gov. Roy Cooper's plan to slowly lift restrictions by focusing on testing, tracing and trends.
"The Carolina Community Tracing Collaborative brings 2 trusted groups together that have long-standing experience in health care to bring on more contact tracers," Cooper said during a press conference Tuesday.
Contact tracing is critical to safely ease restrictions.
"Our local health departments are North Carolina’s experts doing this essential detective work and slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities," explained NCDHHS Secretary Mandy Cohen, M.D. "This collaborative will be a critical addition to our state’s capability to do widespread contact tracing and ease restrictions."
Contact tracing is the process of supporting patients and notifying contacts of exposure in order to stop chains of transmission.
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracing identifies who that individual may have been in contact with so those people can take precautions to avoid infecting others.
The collaborative has already started recruiting for the 250 positions they will need to fill. The collaborative will work with local health departments to deploy trained contact tracing staff to areas where they are most needed.
To apply for a position, click here: https://bit.ly/2YqcsiD
Special consideration will be given to those who are unemployed, have community engagement experience and live in the communities that they will serve. Successful contact tracers require excellent communication skills with an empathetic mindset.
Cooper also said Tuesday the National Guard has conducted 242 missions, traveling over 45,000 miles to 77 counties delivering personal protective equipment to hospitals, medical sites and other facilities in need.
The Food Supply Chain Work Group meets daily to ensure grocery stores remain stocked and our food supply remains strong. They are also working with food banks, delivering over 40,000 meals to school nutrition sites.
“As we enter another week of staying at home, I want to thank North Carolinians everywhere for following the restrictions. And I want to remind everyone that we can’t let our guard down just yet,” Cooper said.