More contact tracers trained, but Boone County still needs more

2 months 3 weeks 5 days ago Monday, July 06 2020 Jul 6, 2020 Monday, July 06, 2020 4:50:00 PM CDT July 06, 2020 in News
By: Annabel Thorpe, KOMU 8 Reporter
loading

COLUMBIA —The Columbia/Boone County Health Department trained 15 city employees in contact tracing Monday. But the county is still at least 10 people below the CDC’s recommend number of contact tracers by population.

"There are some guidelines the CDC recommends," Todd Guess, Boone County Health Department’s senior planner, said. "We don't have that number yet. We've been asking, and apparently the state has been promising either help with contact tracing, more funding for contact tracing. But that hasn't materialized yet."

Contact tracers reach out to those who have been in close contact with someone who tests positive.

They call or email those who have been around the person within 48 hours of getting symptoms or prior to positive test results.

Tracers then inform the contact list about the quarantine process and check-in with them. Tracers also assist the testing process by submitting a test order from the medical director to the contact, if desired.

Last week’s jump in COVID-19 cases across the county overwhelmed the contact tracers.

“The spike in cases recently is certainly a challenge," Guess said. “We got a team, and we’re cranking them out as fast as we can, but it is a labor intensive process… and frankly the cases are coming in faster right now than we are able to keep up.”

The department set a goal of contacting each person on the positive-testing person’s list within 24 hours of a positive result. Now, the benchmark is within 48 hours.

“That’s a 24 hour head start on the potential of other’s becoming infected,” Guess said. “Every hour counts. The sooner we can get a hold of the cases, develop a list of contacts, then in turn get a hold of the contacts, the better.”

In addition to the 15 city employees trained Monday, the health department asked other city departments to help.

“If you have employees who are not operating at their full capacity right now, and have the ability to assist with contact tracing we could definitely take advantage of them,” Guess said.

Training involves an online course and a roughly four hour session with Boone County Health Department.

“I think we will feel a little bit of relief with the new folks coming on,” Guess said. “I anticipate some of the folks we train today will be making call by this evening.”

Guess said the new employees are coming at an opportune time. 

“Given the holiday, given the lax restrictions in the community, more people gathering together, the numbers have certainly been increasing,” Guess said. “And I don’t anticipate that changing.”

Guess said the department may need to train more people when the county realizes the impact of Fourth of July celebrations later this week and into early next week.

But the department has another point of relief heading into potentially rising cases.

"The other thing that makes me optimistic is that we're working furiously to get the REDCap project for case investigation—as opposed to just contact tracing—up and running," Guess said. "Once that's going, it will allow us to streamline some of our processes and make them more efficient as well."

The health department has implemented a new database system called REDCap last week. It allows tracers to send automatically generated messages to those on contact lists, asking if they are experiencing symptoms or would like to speak directly to a contact tracer. 

The department has this software available contact tracers reaching out to contact lists. However, it is not available yet for case investigators—who are the tracers that reach out directly to the positive-testing person to get the initial list of names.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - A bicyclist was rushed to the hospital, Wednesday, after a driver hit him and ran from the scene.... More >>
18 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:49:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(AP) — Police say the father of a bullied Missouri junior high student has been charged with making a terrorist... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:06:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union is suing over a Missouri court order allowing some Kansas City area evictions... More >>
19 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:55:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
ASHLAND - The Wilton Landowners Levee and Drainage Association has waited a year to be reimbursed for work completed after... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:36:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in Continuous News
JEFFERSON CITY- Governor Parson held a press briefing Wednesday for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19. Parson... More >>
20 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:32:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- The Columbia Police Department concluded their part of the investigation in regard to the Mengqi Ji case, a Columbia... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 6:22:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Tuesday's Presidential debate was different than years past and not just because there was no crowd in... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:49:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(CNN) - The Senate on Wednesday approved a stopgap spending bill in order to avert a government shutdown just hours... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:47:04 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia/Boone County Health Department released guidelines for trick or treating on Halloween. There are numerous activities... More >>
21 hours ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:47:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Missouri Head Football Coach Eliah Drinkwitz drew attention on Wednesday when he spoke up about the SEC's lack of... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:33:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in Sports
MIDWAY - A string of burglaries and larcenies have impacted more than a dozen properties around the Midway area. ... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:16:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
MARSHALL- Marshall Public Schools went remote Wednesday, after Superintendent Dr. Carol Maher met with her team and decided COVID-19 numbers... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 1:42:00 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
NASHVILLE (AP) — The NFL says the Pittsburgh-Tennessee game originally scheduled for Sunday will be played either Monday or Tuesday... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 12:26:34 PM CDT September 30, 2020 in Sports
(CNN) -- After a five-month battle with leukemia, the first known person to be cured of HIV has died of... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 11:49:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
CENTRALIA - The sweet smells of lavender and grass hang heavily over Jason Lockwood's workshop. Lockwood and his wife... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 11:30:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
SEDALIA - Pettis County Clerk Nick La Strada confirmed that at least 1,200 blank absentee ballots were reported missing Wednesday... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:48:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- The global pandemic has stress levels running high these days. "One of the first things on everyone's... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 9:44:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy plunged at a record rate in the spring but is poised to swing to... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:27:48 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 65°
4pm 63°
5pm 61°
6pm 59°
7pm 56°