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Pennsylvania to hire 1,000 more coronavirus contact tracers

HARRISBURG (AP) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is hiring 1,000 additional contract tracers to bolster the state’s efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks by quickly notifying people who might have been exposed.

The Health Department on Friday announced a $23 million, federally funded contract with Atlanta-based staffing agency Insight Global to recruit, hire and train the new workers, who will join the state’s existing contact-tracing force of more than 650.

The new jobs include full-time and part-time contact tracers and supervisors, with hourly rates ranging from $18 to $24. The Health Department said recruitment will be focused on workers who have been laid off because of the pandemic.

Contact tracers identify people whom COVID-19 patients have been in contact with so they can be tested and isolated.

The Health Department has also said it is seeking to test out a mobile contact-tracing app that automatically notifies people if they might have been exposed to the virus. It relies on Bluetooth wireless technology to detect when someone who downloaded the app has spent time near another app user who later tests positive for the virus.

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