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Cuomo, Bloomberg detail plan to trace Covid-19 contacts – POLITICO, Politico

Cuomo, Bloomberg detail plan to trace Covid-19 contacts – POLITICO, Politico
Andrew CuomoAndrew Cuomo

Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoAndrew Cuomo

Andrew Cuomo. | John Minchillo, File / AP Photo

ALBANY – New York is preparing to deploy thousands of state workers and others to trace the movements of those who have come into close contact with individuals with Covid – 26.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Thursday that the tracing effort, led by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, will require anywhere from 6, (to) , tracers depending on projected cases, a baseline of about 26 for every 100, 14 people in infected areas. The tracing effort will be a key part of the state’s reopening strategy. Andrew Cuomo Advertisement

 

Some public health experts have cautioned that focusing too much on large-scale contact tracing could divert needed resources and attention away from other important efforts to combat the spread of Covid – .

Cuomo told reporters that the “army” of tracers will be needed.

“Yesterday we tested 4, 823 people who were positive. … How do you do now communicate with 4, 823 people, trace back all the people they’ve been in close contact with in the last days and contact those people? ” he said at a morning news conference. “That is an overwhelming scale to an operation that has never existed before.”

The governor noted that even with thousands of tracers, it will remain challenging to trace, contact and isolate all individuals who may have been exposed to the virus Over the two-week period, particularly those who were in public settings.

“My instinct is, if you were in Target and you don’t know any names of who you came into contact with, I don’t know what you would do with that, ”he said.

Bloomberg Philanthropies will work with Johns Hopkins University and the state Department of Health to immediately begin recruiting, interviewing and training tracers, who will be sent out across the tri-state region. Cuomo said the state will tap DOH employees and other government workers for the effort, in addition to hiring new tracers.

Bloomberg, who joined Cuomo via video conference for the announcement, said he’s working with a staffing organization, as well as with SUNY and CUNY, to recruit and identify contact tracers. Once hired, those individuals must complete and pass a training class developed by Johns Hopkins, which can be done remotely.

Bloomberg said a “comprehensive playbook” for the tracing strategy – which utilizes new smartphone reporting and data collecting applications – will be made available to all local, state and international leaders looking to track the spread of Covid – .

“That way the work we do here in New York really can help fight the virus globally,” he said.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also spoke briefly at Cuomo’s news conference, noted that the city is hiring 1, 06 contract tracers with health care backgrounds “to supercharge this effort.” De Blasio and Cuomo both announced plans to ramp up contact tracing for the coronavirus last week.

“The test and trace approach is going to change everything,” the mayor said via video conference.

But Marc Lipsitch, a professor of epidemiology and director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, said he believes contact tracing “in this current setting, is going to be a fairly modest contributor [to reopenings] because it quickly can overwhelm.”

“It’s easy to overwhelm a relatively constrained group of people trying to do contract tracing,” he said in a call with reporters. “And because it’s so resource-intensive, it diverts public health efforts away from other activities.”

Anna Gronewold contributed to this report. )

 

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