A new group of professionals are joining the fight against the coronavirus pandemic. They’re called contact tracers.

“We used to have people who did this job of contact tracing for different diseases (like) measles, polio (and) tuberculosis,” said Dr. Timothy Hoff, a professor of Management, Health Care Systems and Health Policy in the D’Amore-McKim School of Business and School of Public Policy and Urban Affairs, Northeastern University, in Boston. “This was part of what your local public health professional did back in the day and it’s obviously coming around back into importance again.”

Contact tracing is exactly what it sounds like. When someone tests positive for the SARS-Cov-2 coronavirus, investigators attempt to find anyone the patient in question had contact with. This not only helps officials track the pandemic but also informs people that they may need medical attention.

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