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'They can save lives' | DC plans to hire hundreds more for Contact Trace Force

City leaders plan to hire at least 200 additional members to DC's Contact Trace Force, which aims to reduce the spread of coronavirus.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — As the fight against coronavirus continues in the DMV, city leaders plan to hire at least 200 additional people to join the Contact Trace Force and investigate local cases of the illness.

Contact tracers play a key role in stopping the spread of a virus by speaking with people who have tested positive and figuring out who they have come in contact with.

"For us, it means that we get to it faster and we contain it faster," said D.C. Department of Human Resources Director Ventris Gibson. "You contain the spread by making sure you pull the group together that had the exposure.”

Currently, the city's trace force has 65 members.

By hiring 200 additional members, Gibson told WUSA9 that the city could get an even bigger hold on the virus.

"It lets them know that this is a serious and the sooner we can contain this, the sooner we can get into our new normal," she said on Friday. "We are doing this to save lives, to save hospitalizations and to get us back to a healthy state.”

According to Gibson, contact tracers will be in tasked with getting in contact with people who have tested positive for coronavirus.

After checking in about their health and offering guidance on what to do next, the contact tracer will gather information on who the person has come in contact with.

The contact tracer will then contact the associates the person mentioned to inquire about their condition.

"We'll tell them, 'We want you to go be tested. Have you demonstrated any symptoms? Is there something we can help you with?'" Gibson said. "It’s about the critical operations that are necessary to contain this virus.”

With the jobs now posted on the city's employment website, Gibson said organizers would be keeping a close eye out for people with particular skills.

"They need to have an ability to pay attention to detail and to be analytical," she said. "Some knowledge of medicine is fine."

The Contact Trace Force will offer 13-month positions offering benefits and a $51,000 salary.

Gibson added that the city hopes to possibly hire an additional 700 members as well later this year.

"We’re appealing to our D.C. residents, colleges and universities, and our senior population who wishes to work in a remote environment," she said. "The biggest advantage we have to contact tracing is we have the ability to save lives.” 

People interested in applying for the contact tracer positions can visit this link to do so. 

RELATED: US passes 1.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19

RELATED: DC plans to expand its 'Contact Trace Force' to slow the coronavirus' spread

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