Baltimore Health Corps
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What is the Baltimore Health Corps?
A unique partnership of local and national organizations, the Baltimore Health Corps will train and employ a workforce to conduct tracing, testing, and evaluations to help contain the spread of COVID-19. This is a first-of-its-kind model that will equitably provide employment to trusted community members who will conduct care coordination across the city and region. Participation by Baltimore City, the State of Maryland, and important partners will leverage systems to provide an efficient and effective tracing program. The contact tracing data will be regionally available and empower tracking of the spread of COVID-19 beyond Baltimore City.
What is Contact Tracing?
When someone is exposed to an infectious disease, contact tracers working with local and state health departments reach out to the individual to learn about whom a patient has been in close contact with while they were infectious, so they can warn those potentially exposed. Tracers will conduct comprehensive questioning of Baltimore City residents exposed to the novel coronavirus over the phone, provide information related to self-isolation, handle follow-up questions, and evaluate paths of human-to-human transmission between the resident and their family, friends, coworkers, and other potential close contacts.
Since the State of Maryland handed over reopening responsibilities to local county governments on May 15th, it’s important for contact tracing to be set up quickly. Newly proposed legislation in Congress aims to provide funding for testing and contact tracing to help mitigate against the spread of COVID-19. This partnership presents a replicable model for care coordination that can be adopted by other cities and jurisdictions.
Equitable Community Employment
As unemployment claims continue to rise in Maryland and disproportionally affect minorities and women in the service sector, Baltimore Health Corps’ pilot program will help build skills for long-term and sustainable career opportunities. The program is to employ over 300 Baltimore City residents affected by the circumstances of the pandemic. The workforce is to be centered on equitable employment opportunity, will be representative of the demographics of Baltimore City, and will pay a livable wage between $35,000-$80,000 for the duration of employment.