May 27, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The city has hired more than 1,700 contact tracers and secured 1,200 hotel rooms to reduce the spread of the coronavirus as it prepares to reopen.
The contact tracers will be tasked with finding family, friends and other people who have come in close contact to a person who has tested positive for COVID-19 and bring them in for testing.
The tracers will report for duty June 1, Mayor Bill de Blasio said yesterday.
More than 740 tracers have been hired from the hardest-hit communities. The tracers represent a variety of cultures and cover several languages. However, there is a focus on Spanish.
“The coronavirus pointed out disparities that are deep in the city, and must be fought in every way,” de Blasio said Tuesday. “So, it’s so important that over 700 of the tracers come from the very neighborhoods that have been hardest hit, and will understand what needs to be done to reach people.”
The tracers will also help people infected with the virus find suitable accommodation where they can self-isolate. In some cases, people who cannot isolate in their home will be offered a free hotel room.
Healthcare providers can also secure a hotel room for coronavirus patients. Also symptomatic New Yorkers can call 844-692-4692 and ask for the COVID hotel program if they need a room to self-isolate.
Contact tracers will check in with COVID-19-positive New Yorkers daily to ensure their safety. They’ll call or text daily and conduct in-person visits when necessary to gauge the progress of patients and ensure compliance with self-isolation protocol.
Tracers will also connect COVID-positive New Yorkers who need additional services to 200 staff members from 15 community-based organizations partnering with the city. The staffers — dubbed “resource navigators” by the city — will help those isolating get access to basic needs like food, laundry and medications.
“They will be your point person for anything and everything you need when you’re in that period of separation,” de Blasio said at City Hall today.