Health departments areanticipating a need for skilled, culturally competent tracers whocan convert suspicious or hesitant contacts into enthusiastic,willing participants in the drive to stamp out the virus.

As a contact tracer, Teresa Ayala-Castillo is sometimes askedwhether herbal teas and Vicks VapoRub can treat COVID-19. Thesetherapies aren't exactly official health guidance, but Ayala-Castillo isn't fazed. Shelistens and then suggests other ideas — like getting rest anddrinking plenty of fluids.

"I don't want to call them old wives' tales, but these remediesare things that I'm 100% familiar with because my mom used them onme," said Ayala-Castillo, a bilingual first-generation EcuadorianAmerican who works for the city of Long Beach, California.

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