Want to become a contract tracer? Take this free course at Johns Hopkins. 

As states and cities begin to reopen for business, there is one job local governments are urgently looking to fill: contact tracers. A report by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health says the United States will need around 100,000 contract tracers to help curb new breakouts of the COVID-19 disease as the economy reopens. The job mostly consists of working with patients infected with coronavirus and retracing their steps to find out where they contracted the virus and who else they could have infected. 

Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has developed an online course to teach people the basics of being a contract tracer. The course is free, and students will receive a certification of completion. The course is called COVID-19 Contact Tracing and takes around six hours to complete. It covers the history of the SARS-CoV-2 virus, how it is transmitted, and details regarding the infectious period. Students will learn how to create a contact timeline, learn what questions to ask a patient, and how to deal with privacy issues.

contract tracing

Photo by picjumbo.com from Pexels

“Controlling the spread of COVID-19 will require the hiring and training of a public health workforce in record time,” said Joshua M. Sharfstein, MD, vice dean for Public Health and Community Engagement at the Bloomberg School. “This introductory course provides a strong foundation in the core concepts of contact tracing, from how to talk to people about COVID-19 to key ethical principles.”

The course is meant to be an introduction to contract tracing, and students will need additional training through local and state health departments. The free course is available at Coursera through funding provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. More than 230,000 people around the world have completed the class.

What do you think? Does this sound like a good job opportunity you'd like to pursue? Tell us in the comments!