READING, Pa. - In the fight against COVID-19, there are hidden figures acting as warriors against the virus' spread. They are the contact tracers.
Contact tracers are people who are paid or volunteer to reach out to people who've been exposed to someone who has the virus. They make calls from landline phones to notify people about the risks and to make sure they quarantine.
Now, Berks County officials are searching for volunteers to carry out this important mission.
"If it's done well, it can be very effective," said Carolyn Bazik, executive director of Co-County Wellness Services. "I think it takes someone who has good communication skills. We're looking for people who have a high school education. We're looking for people we can train who are comfortable on the phone talking to people."
Co-County Wellness Services has been contact tracing since the days of the HIV-AIDS crisis in the 1980s. The organization collect points of contact from Department of Health nurses, who gather information from COVID-19 patients.
"It is effective in the sense that you're able to reach out to individuals who might have had an exposure and give them the knowledge of what's going on," said Bazik.
Officials said all volunteers will be trained, and their work will be completely anonymous.
"We aren't using people's cell phones or any technology to track what they're doing, where they're going," said Ed Michalik, a psychologist and the program's lead. "It's a strictly voluntary and confidential program."
Officials said if you're interested in becoming a contact tracer to call Co-County Wellness Services.