contact tracing

Dulce Leyva is a bilingual contact tracer who lives in Reno, Nevada. Her job is to reach out to people who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus and make sure they're self-isolating. And she tries to help them remember who they've been around and could have been exposed to the virus.

ink drop / Adobe Stock

In April, Google and Apple launched software that state health authorities can use to build COVID-19 contact tracing apps. But fewer than half of U.S. states have taken advantage, and most people living in those states aren't putting the apps to use.

In the Mountain West, Colorado's Exposure Notifications app has had the most success, with about 20% of the state's population having downloaded it. But fewer than 3% of Wyoming and Nevada residents have downloaded their states' smartphone apps.

COVID-19 contact tracers continue to be in short supply. That’s especially true for bilingual ones.

Courtesy of Claire Porter

The federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic is on the ballot this year as President Trump runs for reelection in a country that’s seen over 7 million people test positive for COVID-19 and over 210,000 die from the virus. Middle school teacher Claire Porter, who’s currently on medical leave, spoke with KUNM about how her family’s experience of the pandemic underpins her vote for a different federal approach.

Depending on the estimate, the U.S. needs between 100,000 and 300,000 contact tracers to help fight COVID-19. Some say these new jobs could be an opportunity for some of the millions of Americans who've been laid off or furloughed.