Free online course trains contact tracing investigators

Through the Community College of Baltimore County
Posted at 5:18 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-29 17:42:43-04

TOWSON (WMAR) — It's one of the things that needs to be done to reopen Maryland: build a robust contact tracing network to stop the spread of the virus. A new, free training course will help prepare people for those jobs as they become available.

"Anybody who is faced with no job to go back to, look us up. Come see us because we can help," said Community College of Baltimore County President Sandra Kurtinitis.

In partnership with the county, CCBC has launched a new, free online training to teach people the basics in contact tracing.

"To provide the training needed for these professionals who actually will be able to help track and contain this disease, yes, but really going forward, professionals who will be able to respond quickly to any virulent strain that might follow," said Kurtinitis.

For his Roadmap to Recovery plan, Gov. Larry Hogan wants the state to be capable of tracing 1,000 new positive cases a day, and they expect to reach that goal in the next 30 days.

"We have quadrupled our capability to do contact tracing by building a robust force of 1,000 contact tracers and launching a state-of-the-art contact tracing platform called COVID Link," said Hogan.

This training is another step in that direction. It's available for anyone interested, not just Baltimore County residents, and it can be completed in three hours.

"It will ensure that we are providing a tool for our own residents to step into these jobs. Not only allowing our friends and neighbors to play an active role in fighting this virus, but providing them with much needed employment in a time of crisis," said County Executive Johnny Olszewski.

Baltimore County's Department of Health anticipates needing to hire at least 60 more contact tracers by July.

Howard County's Department of Health is aiming to have approximately 64 staff involved in the contact tracing efforts, utilizing a mix of HCHD staff, Medical Reserve Corps staff, Howard County Public School System staff who are interested, and some new hires.

The Baltimore City Health Department staffing currently includes 100 employees working on contact tracing, and they are working on a plan to bring on 300 community health workers who live in communities that have been most impacted by the virus.

You can register for the course now but it will not be available until Monday.