VDH puts emphasis on hiring contact tracers

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - Contract tracing isn't new. It's been used by the Virginia Department of Health for many viruses and diseases over the years.

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But the emphasis on it now is on the research and the answers it's able to provide.

"Right now we're just trying to augment the staff because we have so many of the COVID-19 cases and they need more of the disease surveillance for prevention and containment," said Mona Bector, VDH's Deputy Commissioner for Administration.

If you've checked the VDH website for updated COVID-19 numbers, you've probably seen an orange banner advertising for contact tracers.

Across the commonwealth the need is great, and there's a need here in our hometowns as well.

"And I know for our southwest region we're supposed to be getting 200 of the contact tracers, and the training is supposed to begin next week," said Dr. Molly O'Dell.

There are five types of jobs that range from making phone calls at the VDH call center, to making house calls, to looking at and analyzing the data.

"Obviously some degree of health care experience is helpful when you're talking to people, trying to gain their confidence, or explore what's happening to them, but each position has its required qualifications, or minimum qualifications which are posted with the position," said Bector.

Being bilingual is another trait desired for these currently full-time positions. VDH, however, isn't responsible for making the hires: that's all being done through outside contractors. There's a list of 14 staffing agencies on the VDH website.

"The positions are forecasted to be about 6-12 months right now, but it really depends how the pandemic goes, if there is a need further or not," said Bector.

If you're interested in the jobs available, click here.

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