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Memphis News & Weather | Memphis, TN | WATN - localmemphis.com

"Cultural" sensitivity among the CDC recommended traits for a contact tracer

Hundreds of thousands are being trained to identify infected individuals and track down who they have come in contact with.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. —

Two components the CDC lists for contact tracers are good people skills and cultural diversity. A member of Tennessee's Black Caucus explained these traits are critical to helping Memphis' diverse population overcome COVID-19. 

You can see the full training plan here. 


Contact tracers are used to help inform people who might have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. Dr. Jeff Warren, a member of Memphis' COVID-19 task force, said contact tracing will be effective in eliminating the spread.  

"It’s a tool that vitally important to allow us to know where they are and keep other people safe and keep you safe," Warren said. 


Tennessee Black Caucus member, Rep. Jesse Chism, (D)-Memphis, explained Memphis needs contact tracers who can relate to a multitude of backgrounds. 

"Memphis is a diverse city," Chism said. "Shelby County is the most diverse county in the state of Tennessee, so it’s important that we ensure that same diversity when it comes to hiring people who are going to be doing the tracing and it’s important to have diversity in the oversight of it." 

He said it's important to understand the people you are tracing. Minorities are often disproportionately affected by diseases and Chism said it's due to a lack of diverse healthcare.  

"That’s partly due to access to medical care and access to information," Chism said. 

Chism agrees with the CDC about contact tracers having good people skills because it will be essential in motivating people to get the care they might need.   

"People are frightened right now," Chism said. "We need to remember that people are having all types of adversity they are fighting through the pandemic so we need to show these people we care." 

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