COVID-19 is still out there: Get tested, Work With Contact Tracers — Save Lives

Source: North Jersey.com

New Jersey recently passed the 1 million mark in diagnostic tests performed in the state. We need to continue this trend to slow the transmission of the virus. Testing is vital to identify positive cases quickly, trace contacts and encourage them to get tested, self-isolate and monitor for symptoms.

As summer approaches and New Jersey continues to gradually reopen based on improving data, it may be tempting for residents to resume life as if COVID-19 never happened. But the pandemic is not over. Despite the number of cases falling, the virus is still circulating.

It’s especially important to get tested if you:
– Are experiencing symptoms including fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, muscle pain, shivering, headache, or new loss of taste or smell.
– Have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19
– Are an essential worker (health care professional, transit worker, first responder or food service worker).
– You have participated in a large gathering, such as a demonstration or march — where you may not have been able to maintain social distancing.

Along with testing, it is also important to track the virus once someone tests positive. About 800 contact tracers already on the job, and the state is working with the Rutgers School of Public Health to develop a contact tracing curriculum that will help us to recruit, train and deploy 1,600 additional tracers by the end of June.

Contact tracers will only call if you have tested positive for COVID-19 or because you may have come in close contact with someone else who did. They will provide information on how you can protect those around you from getting sick, such as isolating yourself, and about available support such as job protection, unemployment benefits, child care resources and food assistance. If necessary, they will be able to link you to services to support you during your self-isolation period.

Any information collected through contact tracing will be kept confidential. The contact tracer will not reveal your name or COVID-19 status to your contacts – that information will only be provided to public health officials. They will never ask for your social security number, financial information or immigration status. Your cell phone or GPS location won’t be tracked, and the confidential information you provide will never be shared with immigration or law enforcement.

These efforts will help us build a stronger and safer New Jersey, and for us to be successful, we are counting on everyone to participate and cooperate. Do your part: Get tested to ensure your health and safety and that of your loved ones. And if a contact tracer telephones you, take the call. You can save a life.

Visit COVID19.nj.gov/testing to find a site or talk to your doctor, local pharmacist or community health clinic. If you are uninsured, call 211 to locate a free COVID-19 testing site.

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