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Hopewell Township approves hiring of two part-time contact tracers for novel coronavirus

Hopewell Township has hired two part-time contract tracers to bolster the township’s effort in contact tracing.

During a special meeting on May 22, Mayor Kristin McLaughlin, Deputy Mayor Michael Ruger, Committeewoman Julie Blake and Committeeman Kevin Kuchinski approved the part-time hirings of Jeremy Borges and Melissa Self-Gomes.

Committeewoman Courtney Peters-Manning was absent for the meeting.

“Stephanie Carey (health officer for Montgomery Township) and I had a series of interviews this week, kind of emergency contact tracing hires so we can continue our work fighting COVID-19. We did an internal search and will probably to do an external search (in regards to additional contact tracers),” Blake said during the meeting.

According to Carey, the two part-time hires account for one full-time position. The Montgomery Township Health Department recommended that Hopewell Township would need three full-time contact tracers or the equivalent of the recommended number.

Currently, Hopewell Township is in a share services agreement with Montgomery for interim health services.

“This fills two part-time slots that create one full-time position. We have another full-time position out of our existing nursing capacity, plus a school nurse search,” Carey said. “That creates two of the three full-time equivalence, which happens to be four individuals that are equivalent to two full-time positions.”

She added that they are looking to fill the last of those positions.

“We are looking for someone with some health education background and I am reaching out to some of the professional organizations (like a recent graduate) to see who might be looking for job through at least August,” Carey said.

McLaughlin expressed that she was pleased that the township was able to get two-thirds of the way there in regards to filling contact tracing positions.

“I am hoping that we are still on the front end of the hiring curve, because the numbers being cited at the county, state and national level, these people are in high demand,” she said. “The sooner we can get the third person on board the happier I think we will all be.”

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