RI looking to hire 100 people to help with contact tracing

Coronavirus

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — In Gov. Gina Raimondo’s weekly briefing on Wednesday, she announced the state is looking to hire more people to help with contact tracing

Since there is currently a backlog of casework, the R.I. Department of Health (RIDOH) is looking to hire 100 new case investigators. Raimondo says the system is “strained” because of the uptick in cases, but also because Rhode Islanders are interacting more.

“If you have any customer service experience, and you’re able to work full time, including some nights and weekends, for at least the next 6 months, I’m asking you please today to go visit health.ri.gov/covidjobs,” Raimondo said.

There are already 300 people whose full-time job is being a case investigator, with only 80 dedicated to just schools grades K-12. They added 50 people at RIDOH in the last week alone.

As more people are getting tested, we’re seeing more cases in the state, resulting in the need for this work to increase.

Raimondo is also reminding people that your list of close contacts should be short, and you shouldn’t be around too many people right now since it can spread the virus faster, and the work of the contact tracers takes longer per person.

“People have too many contacts,” she said.

Raimondo also called on people to be nicer to contact tracers when they get called by the Health Department, saying she’s received reports that some people are becoming verbally aggressive.

“The level of aggression that our contact tracers are receiving in the past couple of weeks from folks just because they’re trying to do their job is not OK, it’s not OK,” Raimondo said. “These are human beings, these are just moms and dads and Rhode Islanders just doing their job.”

The Department of Health said they are hiring immediately and people will be trained depending on their previous experience before starting work.

Raimondo is set to hold her second coronavirus briefing of the week Friday at 1 p.m.

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