CHICAGO (CBS) —   in the fight to battle COVID-19 and to prepare the country to reopen, tracking the spread of the sickness is key.

That means hundreds of thousands of workers are needed to trace its spread. CBS 2 is committed to Working For Chicago – helping you to find a job.

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CBS 2’s Vince Gerasole has more on the efforts to hire contact tracers.

They’re kind of like detectives, detecting the spread of COVID-19. From an encounter on the street, to a ride on the bus, each positive case of COVID 19 has a history.

Dr. John Schneider helps hunt them down. Schneider is an infectious disease specialist with Howard Brown Health, which typically serves the city’s LGBTQ community.

“You have to be very empathetic. These are not network patients who are kind of random that say I was walking down the street and I saw a friend,” Schneider said.

He now heads up a team of disease detectives in an effort called contact tracing.

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No degree is required, but potential contact tracers should know basic patient confidentiality rules, understand medical terms and have excellent interview skills.

Dr. Jennifer Layden has also worked as a contact tracer. She is is the chief medical officer for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“It can be a challenge. They want to understand who you are, why you are calling them, how you got their contact information,” Layden said.  “Often times, you are reaching out to an individual. They are uncertain about why you are reaching out to. They have a lot of questions. They are concerned about their well being and their safety.”

Contact tracing can help better determine the spread of COVID-19. By some estimates, they could earn as much as $17 an hour. A Johns Hopkins study estimates nationwide the country may need as many as 265,000.

“Having a high number of individuals to doing the tracing is important,” she said.

How do you apply? It depends.

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Governor JB Pritzker said he was monitoring a firm in the state of Massachusetts that is working there with contact tracing. Most likely it will be a public and private partnership working with health clinics. But all involved said the time to get the contact tracers on the job is now.