DORAL, FL – Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced Thursday that he has signed a $14 million agreement with the state to have 250 contact tracers in the County through the end of the year.
According to the Florida Health Department, contact tracers are public health professionals who work with patients to develop a list of everyone they have been in close contact with, during a certain period of time, to later contact those people to let them know about their possible exposure.
In other words, contact tracing is a disease control measure that now will be expanded in Miami-Dade County, one of the hardest-hit in the state by the pandemic. As of Wednesday, Miami-Dade County reported 2,916 new cases of COVID-19 over the past day.
“I appreciate the governor’s commitment to helping expand contact tracing in South Florida,” said the Mayor in a statement.
He also mentioned the county and state’s legal teams worked out all the final details late Wednesday night to finalize the agreement about the contact tracers who will work for the Florida Department of Health, but will be paid with Miami-Dade County funds received from the federal CARES Act.
“As I told the Surgeon General during a recent meeting, Miami-Dade County has been ready to step in and do whatever is possible within the state’s purview,” Gimenez said. “So, I’m very happy today that we are moving forward.”
But in addition to this, Mayor Gimenez also announced that the county will soon be launching a voluntary “Community Empowerment Program” through an app in which county residents will be able to track virus hot spots to avoid the spread.
“All of these tools can help us tamp down the COVID-19 curve,” the mayor said. “Most important, all residents must take responsibility and help stop the spread of the virus by wearing masks in all public spaces — inside and outdoors — and maintaining social distancing of at least 6 feet, as well as frequent hand washing.”
“If everyone does their part, we will see our positivity rate go down, our hospitals will not be overwhelmed, and we can start to reopen businesses guided by New Normal rules,” Gimenez added.