By Eric Ting, SFGATE

Published

  • (FILES) In this file photo taken on April 29, 2020, a man uses a Swedish version of the Covid Symptom Tracker app on his smartphone in Stockholm. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg, TT News Agency/AFP Via Getty Images

    (FILES) In this file photo taken on April 29, 2020, a man uses a Swedish version of the Covid Symptom Tracker app on his smartphone in Stockholm.

    (FILES) In this file photo taken on April 29, 2020, a man uses a Swedish version of the Covid Symptom Tracker app on his smartphone in Stockholm.

    Photo: Fredrik Sandberg, TT News Agency/AFP Via Getty Images

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg, TT News Agency/AFP Via Getty Images

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 29, 2020, a man uses a Swedish version of the Covid Symptom Tracker app on his smartphone in Stockholm.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on April 29, 2020, a man uses a Swedish version of the Covid Symptom Tracker app on his smartphone in Stockholm.

Photo: Fredrik Sandberg, TT News Agency/AFP Via Getty Images

Santa Clara County is hoping to build an army of at least 1,000 contact tracers, but has only hired 50 to this point.

Contact tracers reach out to residents with the virus and identify those who could have been exposed, and then interview and monitor those contacts in confidential conversations. Contact tracing is critical for breaking chains of transmission, but the county reports only 50 active contact tracers, and another 75 currently in training. County officials had previously hoped to have 700 hired at this point.

According to the county’s official contact tracing recruitment page, individuals who volunteer for contact tracing are asked to “work remotely for at least 24 hours per week, and ideally full-time at 40 hours per week.” The county does not offer its contact tracers a salary.

County CEO Jeff Smith told the Mercury News the county has primarily been recruiting “nonessential” city workers, but believes individuals have been dissuaded from volunteering due to misconceptions they will be out in the field interacting directly with COVID-19 patients. Nonetheless, Smith is optimistic the county will be able to speed up the hiring process.

“It’s turned out to be a lot harder than I expected, because the cities were really unable to identify a large group, and we’ve been calling and communicating with our employees and haven’t received a lot of ‘yes’ answers,” he said. “I’m still pretty confident we’ll get there, but it wasn’t as fast as I expected.”

The county’s list of skills and qualities desired includes being “able to work for a minimum of three months, and ideally six months or longer,” “excellent customer service and interpersonal skills,” and “strong written and communication skills, with an attention to detail.”

MORE CORONAVIRUS COVERAGE:

Sign up for ‘The Daily’ newsletter for the latest on coronavirus here.

  • Mayor Breed approves program to allow restaurants, small businesses to operate on sidewalks
  • Gov. Newsom allows another major business sector to reopen in California
  • Updates: California sees more openings over the long weekend
  • How likely is a ‘fall surge’ of the coronavirus in California?
  • Recently reopened California park, overwhelmed by crowds, closes again

Eric Ting is an SFGATE digital reporter. Email: eric.ting@sfgate.com | Twitter:@_ericting

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *