CARMEL, N.Y. - As the county enters Phase 1 of reopening, the Putnam County Business Council (PCBC) Reopen Putnam County Safely task force announced a call for volunteer contact tracers to help ensure the continuation of the Mid-Hudson region’s reopening eligibility through Phases 2, 3, and 4.

Contact tracers identify infected individuals based on test results, obtained by city and state health departments. Then they contact people — initially by phone, in most cases — who have tested positive for the coronavirus. Tracers will ask them to recall the names of everyone with whom they have recently come into contact. Finally, contact tracers will warn those people of their potential exposure, advise them to self-quarantine and provide them with access to resources they might need in order to follow protocol.

Putnam, as part of the Mid-Hudson Region, has met all the metrics required to start a phased reopening from the COVID-19 shutdown. While this is positive news, the county and region still need more contact tracers to replace those who are returning to their regular jobs in Phase 1 industries. 

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 “The Mid-Hudson Region required a total of over 1,800 contact tracers in order to meet NYS’ Phase 1 reopening metrics. Of that number, our county had to come up with 84 contact tracers, which is nearly three times the originally designated number,” said Jennifer Maher, PCBC chairwoman.

The Mid-Hudson Regional Control Room recently announced the number of contract tracers for the region would now be based on infection rate, rather than population, which increased Putnam County’s required number of 30 contact tracers to 84.

“Our Phase 2, 3, and 4 businesses need to reopen soon, or many never will. As a measure to speed up the process, we are turning to our local businesses and residents who have a stake in our economic well-being to sign up as volunteers,” Maher said. “The PCBC Re-Open Putnam County Safely task force has been assured we have what we need to reopen today. However, we will need more contact tracers in the very near future as many of the trained tracers are in Phase 1 businesses and will need to return to work.” 

New York State reports it is still hiring contact tracers, but there are no clear indications of how or when Putnam will have access to new hires. As such, the county is recruiting individuals who are willing to immediately volunteer. This will help fulfill our region’s requirements and enable us to get back to business as quickly as possible.  

Volunteers must take a six-hour training course and then work remotely to reach out to the contacts of anyone diagnosed with COVID-19 to assess symptoms, ensure compliance with quarantine, and determine social support needs.

If you would be willing to participate in online training to fill this critical gap and help the community take the next step in the re-opening process, contact Jan Miller at the Putnam County Personnel Department at 845-808-1650, ext. 46103 or email, jan.miller@putnamcountyny.gov.

You can also sign up for a paid contact tracing position with New York State at coronavirus.health.ny.gov/get-involved-how-you-can-help.

Minimum qualifications:

  • High school diploma or equivalent required. Must be 18 years of age or older.
  • Some college training is preferred.
  • Must be a NYS resident.
  • Ability to speak, read, and write English clearly and concisely. Fluency in a second or multiple languages would be a plus.
  • Employment is contingent on the completion of a background check by New York State.
  • Own telephone, computer, wireless internet (WiFi), and electronic equipment. (A partial reimbursement to maintain unlimited phone and data access will be provided.)
  • Must have access to a working PC with Windows 10, antivirus protection: Windows Defender and Windows Firewall; or Mac with Apple OS X 10.13, Antivirus Protection: Sophos; and personal mobile device to use for this job.
  • A headset is preferred. 

Article provided by the Putnam County Business Council 

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