Local News

Some Wake County librarians to serve as contact tracers

Posted May 8, 2020 7:50 p.m. EDT
Updated May 8, 2020 9:04 p.m. EDT

— As part of the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus in North Carolina, some Wake County librarians will be taking on a new task.

Testing will soon be available at more retailers in North Carolina, including Walmart and Harris Teeter. On Friday, Secretary of Health and Human Services, Dr. Mandy Cohen, said at least 6,000 tests per day are being completed in our state.

There are now 110 of Wake County’s librarians who are using their people skills to help during this pandemic. We’ve learned that Wake County Public Health and the county’s emergency operations center are training dozens of librarians to become contact tracers.

Training begins Monday with the county hoping they can be ready to go by May 18.

“We understand that many of them have advanced educational degrees, number two as part of their day to day job they interact and help people with their informational needs all the time and so those two components made it a nice and attractive option for us as we were putting together our plans," said Chris Kippes, Public Health Division Director for Wake County Human Services.

Over the next week, they will split them up into teams of ten and teach them how to inform people who might have been in contact with a person who tested positive for the virus. They will also have to gather information and check in on people daily.

It’s a task Ann Burlingame, Deputy Director for Wake County Public Libraries, said was made for librarians.

Ann Burlingame

"That’s part of our profession, we ask questions we try and find answers," Burlingame said. "We always want to make sure librarian are engaged in meaningful work, so this opportunity to be contact tracers really fit with our librarian skills, and it also gave out librarians an opportunity to support Wake County and the residents of Wake County.”

Wake County Public Health officials hope to have the librarians trained and ready to help by May 18.

Our commenting policy has changed. If you would like to comment, please share on social media using the icons below and comment there.