Associated Press: Additional COVID contract tracers hired

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — The Pennsylvania Department of Health is hiring 1,000 additional contract tracers to bolster the state’s efforts to contain coronavirus outbreaks by quickly notifying people who might have been exposed. The Health Department on Friday announced a $23 million, federally funded contract with Atlanta-based staffing agency Insight Global to recruit, hire and train the new workers. They will join the state’s existing contact-tracing force of more than 650. The department says recruitment will be focused on workers who have been laid off because of the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Health Department said 970 more people have tested positive for the virus, with 13 new deaths.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — Pennsylvania will foot the cost of postage for voters to mail in ballots in November’s general election. Officials said Friday that Gov. Tom Wolf’s administration plans to use money from federal emergency coronavirus aid to foot the bill. It could run several million dollars to cover 55 cents for millions of ballots. Wolf has made paying for postage a priority as the coronavirus pandemic has unexpectedly fueled high interest in voting by mail. Under the plan, voters who apply for and receive a mail-in or absentee ballot in the mail will also get a postage-paid ballot-return envelope. Seventeen states cover postage for mail-in ballots, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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