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


Today’s Top Stories

Business + Economy

making way for The Point, a guard tower is knocked down as part of the old state prison's demolitio...
Aimee Cobabe

As the old state prison goes down, development of The Point begins

The Point will take about two decades for developers to finish, but leaders in the project are optimistic that the planned community will be worth the wait.
20 hours ago
Former Governor of Utah, Gary Herbert speaks at the start of demolition at the old Utah State Priso...
Aimee Cobabe

Demolition begins at the old Utah State Prison in Draper

It took years to get the Utah State Prison to this point. Now, the site will be repurposed and built into a so-called "15-minute community."
2 days ago
The American Red Cross of Utah urges Utahns to consider their organization on Giving Tuesday....
Simone Seikaly

American Red Cross urges gift of time for ‘Giving Tuesday’

Giving Tuesday emphasizes a day for charitable actions after several days (Black Friday, etc.) focused on spending and buying.
3 days ago
People wait in line to enter Macy's department store during Black Friday in New York City on Novemb...
Jordan Valinsky, CNN Business

Online Black Friday sales set a new record

Online shopping is expected to remain strong through Cyber Monday.
3 days ago
Shoppers walk through City Creek Center in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. The Better Bu...
Mark Jones

Making the most of Black Friday, Better Business Bureau has tips

The Better Business Bureau offers tips to those shoppers who plan to shop in person on Black Friday.
8 days ago
sundance mountain resort will open a week early...
Kira Hoffelmeyer

Sundance Mountain Resort to open seven days early

SUNDANCE, Utah — Sundance Mountain Resort is opening one week ahead of schedule. The resort announced via email this morning that it expects to open on Dec. 3 because of all the snow it’s gotten, instead of its planned Dec. 9 opening. Sundance says it’s the earliest opening day they’ve had in a decade.  “We […]
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Thousands of Utahns unexpectedly finding work as contact tracers