Newark Begins Large Scale Contact Tracing Initiative

May 7, 2020

 The city of Newark is training hundreds of contact tracers through a citywide partnership, in an effort to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in New Jersey’s largest city.

Dr. Mark Wade, Director of Health and Community Wellness, and Mayor Ras Baraka address reporters in Newark.
Credit Alexandra Hill / News

The city’s Contact Tracing Task Force, made up of city employees, volunteers, and local college students. will contact and trace residents who have tested positive. Mayor Ras Baraka says that data is critical to slowing the spread and developing strategies on how, when and where to reopen.

“If you in fact have it, because of your relationship with that person, we also need to talk to the people who you are around, so if we can isolate that and separate those people, we begin to help stop the spread, and we’ll begin to see the numbers going in a different direction than where they’re going now and that obviously will help us make a solid decision about what the time looks like for us to open up.”

The city is also in the process of opening two more testing sites for all residents regardless of symptoms or insurance status.  Baraka says while many states and cities may be in the process of re-opening Newark is still at war with the virus.

"I just came from Cotton Funeral home, they have over eighty bodies in the building that they have not removed in over weeks that are still in the Cotton Funeral Home, today, right now, right now, because they cant get the cemeteries to move quick enough to pull the bodies out and bury them in the cemetery. It’s a ridiculous situation, so I don’t have the luxury of saying lets go play volley ball.”

Newark has consistently led the state in the number of cases, with more than six thousand, and nearly five hundred deaths.