BOSTON (CBS) — Massachusetts is stepping up its efforts to trace cases of the coronavirus with a first-in-the-nation tracking initiative. Gov. Charlie Baker announced Friday that a COVID-19 community tracing collaborative between the state and the nonprofit Partners In Health will be up and running by the end of the month.

“There is tracing happening now, but this program that we’re talking about today is a much more robust, targeted approach that we have, to be highly effective at slowing the spread of this highly infectious disease,” Baker said in a news conference. “It’s going to be a big part of our ongoing effort to manage and fight our way through COVID-19.”

Baker said Massachusetts is the only state in the country putting together a tracking program like this. A virtual call center staffed with about 1,000 contact tracers will contact coronavirus patients to learn about their recent activities and make sure they are not spreading the virus.

“The call center will get contact information for as many people as possible, that they have come in contact with, and potentially exposed,” Baker said. “People will be contacted and informed, so that they can stay healthy, isolate when appropriate, and prevent further spread.”

Baker said Boston-based Partners-In-Health is a “proven player with a global reputation” with a track record of public health interventions that have made a difference in responding to previous epidemics like Ebola. The organization will handle the hiring, training and supervision of the virtual call center.

Partners-In-Health Chief Medical Officer Dr. Joia Mukherjee said the goal is to “reach out to people and humanely let them know that they are at risk, and you really help them to isolate themselves.” She said it’s important to reach out to the many people who may be spreading coronavirus while appearing asymptomatic.

“We believe that people want to know if they have been in contact with this disease,” she said.

Community tracing could help identify where the worst outbreaks are happening, Baker said.

“One of the things that we believe will become doable in a reasonable way, once we start ramping this up, is the ability to do a little more predictive modeling about hotspots,” he said.

Massachusetts has reported a total of 8,966 coronavirus cases and 154 deaths as of Thursday.

Comments (21)
  1. Mary says:

    How do I apply for the phone center at partners/state covid19 i am a trained field field interviewer

    1. phil loudphart says:

      You need to personally know Charlie Parker or sleep with one of his cronies.

  2. Ledzep says:

    Commie Baker, what a shill.

    1. R says:

      Where are your papers = what is you cell number? Baker is a joke

  3. J says:

    We need a real Republican and not a shill commie.

  4. JW says:

    So how many people will now avoid testing, in order to escape their draconian tracking system?

  5. Sean Clark says:

    Looks like the gangsta behind the mayor (Boston Police Chief) had some very important texts that he wanted the rest of us to be aware of as the mayor spoke. We have more important things to be aware of.

  6. says:

    A dark shade of Red China. Be afaid very afaid.

    1. Ledzep says:

      The baker commie is so far from republican that hen-is a Bolshevik. How far these Puzzys have gone toward the commies.

  7. Dr. Evil says:

    I escaped to a virus free zone… weeks ago.

  8. Tom a Brady says:

    Mass. Whole

  9. Union of Soviet States of America says:

    The Communist Marxist Leninist Bolshevik Jewish Freemasonic takeover of Western Civilization continues unabated. Thanks Howie! You seem like a sellout, er, I mean a swell guy. Can I get the nicest cell in the gulag please, since I’m one of the first to apply?

  10. Orw says:

    Welcome into dystopian era everyone. Why virus fighting tools have to have much worse effects in lives and society, that virus itself?

  11. Jeff Mason says:

    What happens if you hang up on them? Is it now illegal to not participate in a telephone survey? This is getting ridiculous. When this thing passes, weaker going to all come out of quarantine and find ourselves in Communist China. Push back on this nonsense – hard!

  12. cindynsg says:

    No one will get tested. Way to go Baker! Deep state shill for many years. Massachusetts needs new faces with term limits! @va_shiva please!

  13. Jim Lively says:

    And exactly WHO has access to this database? It would be a telamarkers dream…

  14. jabusse says:

    It’s SALEM all over again.

    So fitting this would happen in Mass.

    And all over some disease 80% won’t even know when they have it.

  15. Bill Smith says:

    We have so many people, Mao said. We can afford to lose a few million. What difference does it make? …… That quote from Mao is the continuing philosophy of the Chin ese Com mun ist Pa rty.

  16. Barry says:

    When is this awhole out of office?

  17. crowneagle2 says:

    I have one of the worst autoimmune diseases known to mankind. I don’t relish the thought of avoiding people for the rest of my life. Tracking and tracing will be a game changer in getting this disease under control. We’ve got less than five months before the kids go back to school. We have to get a handle on this by then. As for all you right wing weirdos, if you own a cell phone or computer, they already know where you are. That train left the station years ago. Just by posting your filth, they know who and where each one of you are. Freakin dummies! I guarantee you, I could survive on my own in the wilderness better than any of you.

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