TRENTON, NJ — The State of New Jersey is hiring more than 230 contact tracers as part of its ongoing fight against COVID-19, Gov. Phil Murphy announced during a press conference on Wednesday afternoon.
According to Murphy, the tracers being on-boarded are in addition to the 900 tracers already working throughout the state. He stated that all contact tracers are trained to not only identify and locate people who have been exposed, but also to “see the human faces” affected by COVID-19.
“An investment in these tracers represents a direct investment in public health,” said Murphy.
Dr. Perry N. Halkitis, Dean of Public Health at Rutgers University, said the goal of the Contact Tracing Corps is to target, test, treat and trace, which he described as the key steps toward slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
According to Halkitis, about 1,000 people who have been recruited will be “rigorously trained and supported in an ongoing effort.” He stated that this is an undertaking that will go on for “decades.”
He also warned about possible scams, informing the public that a contact tracer will never ask for money or a social security number.
Among other announcements, Murphy said that a recent discussion with governors in the tri-state area determined that all visitors from highly impacted states “should quarantine upon arrival in New Jersey, New York and Connecticut” until further notice.
Murphy also announced that beginning on July 2, museums, aquariums and some in-door recreational facilities will be allowed to open, including bowling alleys, batting cages, shooting ranges and boardwalk arcades. Libraries will be allowed to open at 25-percent capacity.
Gyms and fitness centers for individual training and appointment-only exercise sessions are allowed to open. General gym admission is not currently permitted.
Additionally, NJ Transit trains and light rail will resume a full weekday schedule beginning on Monday, July 6.
According to Murphy, the total of coronavirus cases in New Jersey reached 169,892 by the time of his press conference, including 317 new cases reported on Wednesday. There were 48 new deaths reported on Wednesday as well, bringing the state's total to 12,995 deaths attributed to COVID-19.