Live in the Time of Coronavirus: Pt. 16, Librarians as Contact Tracers

NBC’s  Today had a feature on using Librarians as Contact Tracers on Thursday, May 21.

The Guardian ran a story on May 1. “Despite its techie reputation, San Francisco has so far eschewed smartphone tracking and contact tracing apps in favor of old-fashioned phone calls.”

MarketWatch ran a story on librarians as contact tracers on May 8. San Francisco Librarians were among the city employees reassigned after the mayor declared a state of emergency.

Meanwhile, a recent survey by NPR, which included responses from 41 states and Washington, D.C., found that about 7,602 people in total were currently working as contact tracers, with an expected surge to about 36,587 — figures that Frieden called “a start.”

According to NBC Bayarea, “San Francisco partnered with UCSF to train librarians, assessors and attorneys to work as contact tracers. UCSF is now rolling out the program statewide in a partnership with California’s public health department to train 20,000 contact tracers by July. Gov. Gavin Newsom has pinpointed contact tracing, along with large-scale testing, as keys to reopening California’s economy. ”

In Wyoming, Wyoming Public Media recommends three levels of contact tracers.

  1. Trained Lay People
  2. Epidemiologists
  3. Health Care Professionals

Within the contact tracing workforce, the organization distinguishes between “case investigators, who interview people diagnosed with COVID-19 and then figure out how many people they might have come in contact with while contagious, and contact tracers, who notify and follow up with these contacts.” For the latter, Plescia suggests university students or school teachers, especially over the summer. Librarians could also be good candidates.

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