Over 800 AmeriCorps members will assist local health officials in Colorado’s COVID-19 response, Governor Jared Polis (D-CO) announced last week.

AmeriCorps members will boost the state’s contact tracing capabilities, an effort that Polis says is an essential component of safely reopening the state.

Contact tracing involves identifying members of the community who test positive for the virus, reaching out to individuals they have been in contact with, and encouraging them to self-isolate in order to stop chains of transmission. 

“Contact tracing is an important part of containing the spread of this virus and ensuring that Coloradans can keep themselves, and those around them, as safe as possible,” said Polis in a news release. “The work of these members will be critical to the health and safety of Coloradans, as well as next steps for our economy.”

The initiative is supported by a coalition of governmental agencies, hospitals, non-profit advocates, and university organizations.

Specifically, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will provide nearly $2 million in federal funding for additional AmeriCorps Associates, while Gary Community Investments has secured technology to assist in Contact Tracers’ virtual outreach. The Governor’s Commission on Community Service, Serve Colorado, will host a website to centralize these efforts and provide information for those interested in signing up to serve.

“I’m proud that, working hand-in-hand with local partners, AmeriCorps and Senior Corps will help Colorado respond to COVID-19,” said Barbara Stewart, CEO of the CNCS in a news release. “In moments of crisis, Americans have always come together to serve those who need help. United, there is no problem we can’t tackle.”