AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associates

Contact tracing is a key strategy to limiting the spread of COVID-19. Community Resource Center will work to place 200 VISTA Summer Associates (VSA) within Colorado’s statewide comprehensive testing and tracing network to help address this need. VSA Contact Tracers will increase the capacity of public health agencies to control the COVID-19 epidemic in Colorado through tracing of individuals who have been recently exposed to it.

What exactly is contact tracing? And why be part of the effort? Immediate action is needed to contain and minimize the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. Contact tracers are responsible for speaking with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to help them recall everyone they may have had close contact with during the time frame while they may have been infectious. Contact tracers then communicate with any contacts about potential risk of exposure to the virus and provide recommendations and support for keeping themselves and others safe. All contact tracing communication is conducted remotely over the phone. Given the magnitude of COVID-19 cases and the evolving plans to relax stay at home orders and social distancing, communities need a large number of trained contact tracers. We know that some individuals who have COVID-19 may not show symptoms or signs of infection, and may spread the disease without realizing it, which makes contact tracing an even more essential part of controlling the spread of disease. In order for contact tracing efforts to be effective, we must act quickly to build a cohort of skilled contact tracers. Colorado is positioned to hire a large cohort of contact tracers through the AmeriCorps VISTA Summer Associate (VSA) program. As a VSA Contact Tracer you will help collect valuable data and make a community impact by helping slow the transmission of COVID-19. For more information about contract tracing principles and process visit CDC’s Contact Tracing webpage here.

The State of Colorado, in partnership with local public health authorities, is building a statewide corps of contact tracers to contain the spread of COVID-19 as the state gradually reopens.

At the heart of this effort is a robust force of trained contact tracers who will offer support and information to individuals who have been exposed to the virus. This vital corps of “disease detectives” will identify sources of potential outbreaks and deliver the information and support Coloradans need to stay safe and healthy.

Tracing teams typically include a) case investigators b) contact tracers and c) community resource coordinators, all of whom work under the supervision of public health officials at the state level or in local communities. Those officials triage and assign cases to investigators, who make initial calls to individuals who have tested positive. Contact tracers make a second wave of calls to individuals that the original confirmed case has been in contact with in the prior two weeks. In these calls, tracers document a symptom check, refer contacts for testing according to established protocols, provide contacts with instructions for quarantine, and screen for additional resource needs.

About VISTA Summer Associates

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members bring passion and perseverance where the need is greatest: to organizations that help eradicate poverty. AmeriCorps VISTA members serve as a catalyst for change, living and working alongside community members to meet our nation’s most pressing challenges and advance local solutions.

About Community Resource Center

Established in 1981, Community Resource Center (CRC) creates opportunities, tools, and strategies to develop nonprofits and community groups to strengthen Colorado. We believe in the power of the nonprofit sector to affect change and support thriving communities. We envision a strong and sustainable nonprofit sector leading our state towards a more just future.

About Conservation Legacy

Conservation Legacy provides support for local conservation and community service programs under the leadership of a national organization, delivering high quality programming in communities across the country to produce enduring impact through local action. In 2019, Conservation Legacy engaged over 2,200 youth, young adults and veterans in conservation, restoration and community development projects and contributed 1.2 million hours of service to the nation. Conservation Legacy programs engage participants on diverse conservation and community service projects that provide opportunities for personal and professional development and meet the high priority needs of public land managers and community partners. Working in close collaboration with partners across the country, Conservation Legacy advances goals of increasing opportunities in conservation, stewardship, national service and workforce development.

Contact tracing, a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel for decades, is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19. Immediate action is needed. Communities must scale up and train a large contact tracer workforce and work collaboratively across public and private agencies to stop the transmission of COVID-19.

For more information, please contact:

Katy Sawyer, Senior Program Manager
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