City hires over 500 contact tracers to contain COVID-19, will provide hotel rooms

Photo via Flickr/Mayor de Blasio

New York City has hired over 500 contact tracing staff to move communities one step closer to reopening as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday that the staff was now undergoing training in order to track the disease as it moves through society and isolate cases for the containment of COVID-19.

“The goal here is to trace people and then for those do require support and isolation to make sure that happens seamlessly,” de Blasio said. “It’s not just a hotel somewhere… It’s a very, very deeply coordinated effort. Once someone is identified as needing that isolation, the transportation to get them there, the medical support once they’re there, food, laundry, you name it, all of that has to be in place.”

The hotel rooms will only be provided to people who cannot quarantine at home.

Dr. Neil Vora has been appointed to lead the tracing effort for the city, according to de Blasio.

By the end of May, the de Blasio administration said they will have a capacity of 20,000 tests per day at NYC Health & Hospital sites.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday that three regions in the state – the Finger Lakes, the Southern Tier, and the Mohawk Valley – were ready to begin reopening on May 15 for their decline in hospitalizations and deaths over a 14-day period as well as the region’s 30 tracers for every 100,000 people.

De Blasio believes that the city may begin its reopening effort in June. There were only 51 people admitted to hospitals in city limits on May 9, which de Blasio was optimistic about despite the spike from 537 to 550 in intensive care from COVID-19.

The percentage of people testing positive for coronavirus saw a slight uptick from 13% to 14%, according to the administration.