Thousands of Utahns unexpectedly finding work as contact tracers

Jul 7, 2020, 9:20 AM | Updated: 9:20 am

contact tracing...

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on the nationwide job market. As it turns out, in addition to shutting down plenty of work, it also is creating some new jobs. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

(PHOTO: Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a major impact on the nationwide job market. As it turns out, in addition to shutting down plenty of work, it also is creating some new jobs. In fact, there are thousands of people in Utah working a job they never expected when the year started.

Now hiring contact tracers

Lee Cherie Booth is with the Salt Lake Valley Health Department. She says her and other tracers are given a list everyday of people who test positive for the coronavirus. It’s their job to get in touch with them in 24 or 48 hours.

“We talk to them about how their systems are,” she explains. “[We ask] what sort of symptoms they have [and] educate them.”

For those that are symptomatic, the isolation period of staying indoors and away from others must last at least 10 days from the onset of symptoms. On top of that, they need an additional three days with no signs of fever or reliance on medication.

A different timeline

For asymptomatic cases, the whole process can be much longer. That’s because the length of their isolation depends on when they last were exposed to someone with the virus. Meaning their 14 days of isolation doesn’t even technically start until that last sick person they were exposed to is well again. Meaning their time spent isolating adds up pretty quickly.

“It can be twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three or so days,” says Booth.

As one can imagine, telling a stranger over-the-phone they need to stay inside their homes for upwards of potentially three weeks, doesn’t always elicit the most positive reactions.

“Some individuals are upset with this whole thing,” she explains. “They can be angry.”

For now, she and the other contact tracers at Salt Lake Valley Health are plenty busy. They typically are working 6 days a week and 9 or 10 hour days. Nonetheless, Booth isn’t complaining, she calls it important work that she’s happy to do.

Listen to the full in-depth report here


We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Business + Economy

A car is filled at a gas pump in Sandy on Tuesday, March 19, 2024. Utah gas prices are currently be...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

Utah gas prices below national average in time for summer season

Utah gas prices are below the national average price for gas and the prices are expected to stay that way over the summer.

13 hours ago

Image of Temple Mountain found on BLM land within Emery County, Utah. (Mike Coronella)...

Aimee Cobabe

Utah files lawsuit over BLM Public Lands Rule

In the lawsuit, Utah accuses the BLM of taking a "museum-like" approach to the state's public lands.

1 day ago

Pioneer Stadium in Ogden is getting a $4.3 million upgrade, expected to be complete in time for the...

Tim Vandenack,

Ogden’s Pioneer Stadium – site of a major annual rodeo – getting $4.3M upgrade, new name

The upgrade to Ogden's Pioneer Stadium includes additional seats and new equipment for rodeo participants.

2 days ago


Josuee Sanchez

Beware of “quishing” or QR code phishing says Better Business Bureau

Scammers are using "sqishing" or QR phishing to con people into giving personal their personal information.

2 days ago

The front of the Holladay Lions salt lake county recreation center...

Allessandra Harris Gurr

The hidden cost of recreation centers

A new report shows that several recreation centers in Utah operate at a deficit in the millions. Part of covering that gap comes via taxes.

3 days ago

The Utah Women & Leadership Project, based out of Utah State University in Logan, Utah, reports tha...

Alexandrea Bonilla

Report finds fewer Utah workers experiencing sexual harassment

For the first time in years, the number of sexual harassment reports filed with the EEOC places Utah in line with the national average.

3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Underwater shot of the fisherman holding the fish...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Your Bear Lake fishing guide

Bear Lake offers year-round fishing opportunities. By preparing ahead of time, you might go home with a big catch!

A group of people cut a purple ribbon...


Comcast announces major fiber network expansion in Utah

Comcast's commitment to delivering extensive coverage signifies a monumental leap toward a digitally empowered future for Utahns.

a doctor putting her hand on the chest of her patient...

Intermountain Health

Intermountain nurse-midwives launch new gynecology access clinic

An access clinic launched by Intermountain nurse-midwives provides women with comprehensive gynecology care.

Young couple hugging while a realtor in a suit hands them keys in a new home...

Utah Association of Realtors

Buying a home this spring? Avoid these 5 costly pitfalls

By avoiding these pitfalls when buying a home this spring, you can ensure your investment will be long-lasting and secure.

a person dressed up as a nordic viking in a dragon boat resembling the bear lake monster...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

The Legend of the Bear Lake Monster

The Bear Lake monster has captivated people in the region for centuries, with tales that range from the believable to the bizarre.


Live Nation Concerts

All the artists coming to Utah First Credit Union Amphitheatre (formerly USANA Amp) this summer

Summer concerts are more than just entertainment; they’re a celebration of life, love, and connection.

Thousands of Utahns unexpectedly finding work as contact tracers