Monday, July 13, 2020

Something new and different

We're living in Tucson right now while our Seattle home's basement is being remodeled. We're in the middle of summer; yesterday the high was 113 degrees. I ride my bicycle at 6:00 a.m. when it's already 80 degrees. But I'm okay with the heat as long as the a/c in house and car are working. 

This is normal for Arizona summers, and I wanted to experience one. The night before last we had our first monsoon of the season: wind, dust, a bit of rain and a spectacular electrical storm. 

It's a little harder doing the social distancing thing. We don't have people in our house, and it's too hot to sit outside and talk, and it's too hot to walk. Last night it was 100 degrees at 10 p.m. 

Back in April Johns Hopkins offered a free online course in contact tracing, where you talk to a person diagnosed with covid. They're infectious from two days before they develop symptoms until their symptoms are improving and they haven't had a fever (without tylenol) for three days. So you want to find out who they have been with during that time - especially before they develop symptoms. Then you contact the exposed people and recommend they self-quarantine for two weeks, providing them with access to resources they might need to successfully do that.

I read recently that 240,000 people signed up for the Johns Hopkins course, and 180,000 obtained the certificate of completion. I was one of those people. When I was done I contacted Pima County (where Tucson is) and expressed my interest in being a contact tracer.

I didn't hear anything from the county. And then I watched the number of covid cases soar in June. It was a couple of weeks after the governor opened the bars and restaurants and similar businesses. The young people, released from their lockdown, congregated in those places. And they are the ones who are most commonly experiencing the virus now. The older people, like me, tend to remain at home, knowing their increased risk.

Then today I got an email:

Good afternoon Ms. Myers,

I wanted to reach out to you about your email on April 13, 2020, inquiring about contact tracing.  Thank you for willingness to assist the Pima County community as a Contact Tracer.  At the time of your inquiry we were working on developing a process for contact tracing.  

We have recently contracted with Maximus for contact tracing.  If you are still interested in being a contact tracer then contact  for contact tracing positions.  Once you email expressing interest for a contact tracing position in Pima County/Tucson, Arizona then your application will be moved accordingly through the application process.

Thank you.

Emergency Operations Center
Volunteer Coordinator 2

I wrote to Maximum to express my interest:

In April I applied to Pima County, Arizona to assist with contact tracing. Today I got an email saying they have contracted with you and said I should send you an email.

I completed the Contact Tracing course offered by Johns Hopkins in April. Though not a healthcare professional, I have been a certified mediator, made five trips to Greece in the last four years to volunteer at a refugee camp, managing that camp twice as vacation relief. I spent 20 years working in IT as a business systems analyst. 

I divide my time during the year between Tucson and Seattle. Since this is remote work, I could be useful anywhere I’m needed.

Looking forward to hearing from you. 

I wonder what will happen now that I have said yes one more time.