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Suburban Cook County COVID-19 Contact Tracing Initiative

On June 11, 2020 Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) announced it would be receiving almost $41 million in COVID-19 federal relief funding from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). The overarching goal of IDPH’s COVID-19 LHD Contact Tracing Grant program is to build-up capacity and infrastructure of local health departments to rapidly scale-up and sustain major COVID- 19 contact tracing programs. With the grant funding, CCDPH will expand its contact tracing workforce to 400 people, aiming to reach 90% of positive cases’ contacts within 24 hours. For more details about the program, please see this press release.

CCDPH has hired, on-boarded, and trained the first group of 60 contact tracing staff. This group will all be deployed by late September. We are in the process of interviewing for an additional 300 positions. We expect this group to be on-boarded, trained and deployed by the end of the November.

Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is the multi-step process of identifying, assessing and managing people exposed to a positive COVID-19 case and connecting exposed people to resources to assist them during quarantine. It is not new and routinely used to prevent further spread of communicable diseases.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic CCDPH had about 15 contact tracers for the 2.5 million people who live in suburban Cook County. Suburban Cook County excludes Chicago, Evanston, Skokie, Oak Park, and Stickney Townships, which have their own state-certified health departments.

Click here to learn more about contact tracing.

Mobilizing Community-Based Organizations to Provide Community Support

To ensure the success of the COVID-19 Contact Tracing Initiative, CCDPH has contracted with Hektoen Institute of Medicine (Hektoen) to provide contract management and oversight for the Suburban Cook County COVID-19 Contact Tracing Community Supports Program. This funding opportunity aims to slow the spread of COVID-19, and lessen the social and economic impacts of the pandemic. Toward this end, successful applicants will disseminate relevant COVID-19 information to priority populations; conduct education and outreach; expand existing programs or services that can help households with isolation and quarantine or lessen the social and economic impacts of COVID-19; and increase availability and access to testing. A total of up to $5,450,000 is available.

Important Dates

Sept. 16 – An information session will be held via Zoom on Sept. 16, 2020 at 9:30 a.m.

Sept 21 – A Letter of Intent (LOI) is strongly encouraged by Sept. 21, 2020.

Oct. 2 – The application deadline is October 2, 2020.

For more information and to apply, visit the Hektoen website. Questions may be directed to Hektoen via email to: [email protected].

Job Opportunities

We began expanding our team of contact tracers in August. We expect to have a full team of 400 contact tracing staff members by late fall.

New positions

Posted contact tracer positions can be found on the CCH Careers webpage. To view open positions, click on “external applicants.” To search by keyword, use the term “contact tracer.” To search by job category, select “public health.”

For additional information, please click on the links below:

Please do not call Cook County Health or CCDPH offices or staff due to the large volume of expected applicants.

Resources

Cook County Resources

Cook County ShinyApp

IDPH

CDC