Cole County needs more contact tracers to assist schools
COLE COUNTY- The Cole County Commissioners are still hiring contact tracers to assist schools that are in need.
The commission approved the hiring of 12 new contact tracers on Sept. 22 but is now considering hiring even more if needed.
Western District Commissioner Kris Scheperle said they need people working 40 hours a week to contact trace and assist schools.
According to the commission team, the 12 contact tracers will be assigned to specific schools and will work under the school officials' direction.
"We have hired more people to help our health department staff, and these 12 will be an addition to that. Our health department has been overworked and taxed; they needed the help," Scheperle said.
"When we started our CARES funding process, we were pushing for schools to receive the money they needed to open up and keep kids to stay in class. We put aside $100 per student in private and public schools," Scheperle said.
Public and private schools across the county reached out to the commissioners about the help they needed.
The commissioners met with Helias Catholic School, Blair Oaks and Jefferson City schools last Tuesday.
Helia's Catholic School's nurse was doing all of the contact tracing on her own.
Director of Communications Sandy Hentges said the new tracers will help keep students, staff and faculty safer because they'll know thing sooner.
"In addition to that, it will take full workloads off our staff," Hentges said.
According to the Cole County COVID-19 dashboard, there are 124 active cases, 1,366 recoveries and 1,497 total cases.