TRENTON, NJ – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy today is singing the blues because New Jersey wants no part of his army of COVID-19 contact tracers, nor are they answering their unsolicited phone calls. Judith Persichili, who needs no introduction sang the chorus for Murphy’s sad song.
The state, working with the Rutgers School of Public Health and Public Consulting Group, is continuing to build a strong, quality contact tracing program. CommCare, the state’s uniform data reporting system, was introduced and launched statewide in early July. To date, 1,344 contact tracers are in the field, which includes existing local health department staff and Rutgers-trained contact tracers that have been deployed by the NJDOH. A total of 638 contact tracers have been hired through the Rutgers School of Public Health, 349 of whom have already completed training and been deployed by NJDOH. The Rutgers School of Public Health is contracted to hire a total of 1,000 contact tracers.
“While we are moving in the right direction, the success of our efforts depends on people—particularly young adults–answering the call from contact tracers and providing the information needed to stop the spread of COVID and protect those who come in contact with someone who has tested positive,” said Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli. “I want to thank all of our public health workers for hard work during this pandemic and thank those New Jersey residents who have taken calls from contact tracers. But in order to prevent further spread of the virus, we need everyone to share in that responsibility by answering the call. We are all in this together.”
A contact tracer will identify themselves as working with the local health department when they call. All information will be kept confidential. Contact tracers will never ask for a Social Security number, financial information or immigration status.
If you are notified as being a close contact, quarantine for 14 days, monitor your symptoms and get tested. If there are any doubts, the person called can request the name of anyone who calls and call their local health department to verify. If a resident suspects a call is a scam, they can report it to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 973-504-6240.
Photo: Still capture, Diary of a Wimpy Kid