More than 140 Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota employees are starting the process this week to work as volunteer contact tracers for the Minnesota Department of Health, according to a company press release.
All the volunteers will receive training from the health department on proper protocols for conducting interviews that adhere to all laws and regulations pertaining to private and confidential health information, said the press release. Volunteers will be asked to complete a minimum two-week commitment, consisting of six-hour shifts, three to four days per week. The goal will be for volunteers to complete approximately five case calls per shift.
Minnesota has had 757 COVID-19-related deaths and 10,764 of its residents have recovered from the disease, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 dashboard.
The volunteer effort is the result of Blue Cross reaching out to state health officials and offering support for the state's goal of deploying close to 500 volunteer contact tracers by the end of the month, according to the press release. "Our hope in this crisis is to offer stability and support for our communities and our state however we can," Craig Samitt, M.D., president and CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota, said in the press release.
States are taking a variety of approaches to creating contact tracing workforces. California has partnered with University of California, San Francisco. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced a plan to hire between 6,400 and 17,000 contact tracers with the support of Bloomberg Philanthropies, the charitable organization created by former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg.