MACON, Ga. — Almost 33 million people have filed for unemployment across the country.

However, there are still job opportunities out there for those who are unemployed. 

Right here in Georgia, the Department of Public Health is looking to hire contact tracers to help fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

Contact tracing works by identifying people in the community who have tested positive for COVID-19, isolating them, then tracking down people they could have possibly infected. 

Then they will get them tested and into quarantine while waiting for the results.

The Georgia Department of Public Health is offering $15 an hour to help track people exposed to COVID-19.

According to their website, they are looking for people with a minimum of a high school diploma, computer skills, and excellent communication skills.

This is temporary position, established only for nine months or less than 30 hours per week.

Dr. Kathleen Toomey says contact tracing is important to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

"We want to be able to identify everyone in the community who may be infected, whether symptomatic or not, so we can ensure that we can stop that spread," Toomey said.

She said they have already received 1,000 applications.

"We will be hiring within the next weeks at least 300 and hope in a second wave to hire 300 more," Toomey said.

In April, the North Central Health District said, due to a surge in cases, they were unable to contact every person who may have interacted with someone who was infected.

They are focusing on notifying high-risk groups, which includes healthcare workers, first responders, and people who work in long-term care facilities, like nursing homes. 

But as the cases grow, so do the possibilities.

Researchers from Stanford University and MIT are working on ways to send digital alerts, by Bluetooth, to people who have been infected, so they can get the information even faster.

For now, the Department of Public Health is focusing on building up their contact tracing department to alert as many people as they can, as quickly as they can.

The application closes on May 17 on The Department of Public Health's website at midnight.

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