HARRISBURG (KDKA) — Pennsylvania will spend tens of millions of dollars and hire thousands of workers to undertake contact tracing during the Coronavirus pandemic.

This and more was revealed at a Pennsylvania House Democratic Committee Meeting in Harrisburg this morning.

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Contact tracing is one of the ways we can stop the spread of the virus.

Lawmakers learned this morning that the Pennsylvania Department of Health will spend up to $27 million for contact tracing.

And they’ll need to hire as many as 4,000 employees to get the job done.

Contact tracing is locating people who have come in contact with others who are infected with COVID-19 and asking them to quarantine. When combined with wearing masks, social distancing and testing, contact tracing is a great way to slow the spread. Squirrel Hill State Rep. Dan Frankel spoke about its importance during a Democratic House Committee Meeting this morning.

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“Contact tracing and case investigation, which proceeds contact tracing, is absolutely essential if we’re going to be able to safely reopen parts of our economy, get kids back to school,” Frankel said.

Pennsylvania’s Health Department has been authorized to spend up to $27 million on contact tracing. Even though they say they have been doing a good job of it, they still need to hire an additional 3,000 to 4,000 workers to get the job done. One big issue is many people don’t want to cooperate with contact tracers.

“We train our folks to talk with them about the importance of that information and why it’s important to keep their families and their communities safe,” said Lindsey Mauldin, Special Assistant to the Pennsylvania Secretary of Health.

Contact tracing is routine. It’s already being done for diseases like HIV and Hepatitis C. But tracing the Coronavirus in Pennsylvania is more difficult as the virus continues to spread. That’s why they’re spending millions and hiring thousands. And it’s already affected the way we handle the virus.

“That’s how we identified the restaurants and bars being a source of our increased infection rate here in Allegheny County,” said Frankel.

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One tool is on the horizon that could make a significant difference in contact tracing. An app is being developed. You can install it on your phone, and it could tell you if you’ve been exposed to the virus. That could be available in Pennsylvania next month.