BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore health officials announced Thursday they will be hiring more than 300 coronavirus contact tracers from within the community as a part of a new initiative.
The Baltimore Health Corps, a multi-million public-private partnership, will hire Baltimoreans to conduct COVID-19 contact tracing in addition to other needs.
“Corps staff will deploy to address critical COVID-19 needs in Baltimore’s most vulnerable communities, performing three key functions, public health, outreach application contact tracing and care coordination and social support,” Mayor Jack Young said. “The mobile health course is the first of its kind because it will target hiring individuals who have recently lost their jobs, due to the pandemic, and live in communities hardest hit by as community health workers, including those without previous healthcare experts.”
The city has raised $9 million for the program. The Rockefeller Foundation committed an initial $2 million. The city has made a $4.5 million commitment using CARES Act funds. Other private funds came from Annie E. Casey Foundation, Bloomberg, CareFirst, The Merrick Foundation, Goldseker Foundation, T. Rowe Price Foundation and more. There’s still a $3 million funding gap.
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“Our Baltimore Health Corps contact tracers will play a key role in tracking the spread of COVID-19 here in Baltimore City, providing valuable information on how to isolate quarantine safely notifying residents of their test status for those who’ve been tested at our community based testing sites and entering important data so we can continue public health surveillance and keep our city residents safe,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa. “In addition to our contact tracing teams, the Baltimore Health Corps along with our partner, Healthcare Access Maryland, will be hiring local residents as community health workers and supervisors, increasing our capacity to provide essential care coordination services for the residents of Baltimore City.”
“Healthcare Access Maryland will continue to serve as the care coordination entity for pregnant moms and families with young children and will help adults coordinate their social needs such as food, housing, utilities and services, especially crucial now,” Dzirasa added.