Volunteers try to fill contact tracing gaps, but Boone County lacks resources

2 months 3 weeks 1 day ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 12:49:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
By: Destinee Patterson, KOMU 8 Reporter

COLUMBIA – As Boone County struggles to keep up with the need for contact tracing in the community, volunteers are trying to step up to fill in the gaps.

However, Director of Columbia/Boone County Public Health Department Stephanie Browning said even adding volunteers is a task that requires resources the department does not currently have.

“Adding volunteers from the general community will require screening, training and additional technology needs,” she said in an email to KOMU 8. “Right now, we just don’t have the staff resources to stand up a volunteer workforce of contact tracers.”

Right now, the department has 24 contact tracers and 14 disease investigators. Browning said she wants to have at least 54 contact tracers on-staff. Contact tracers make phone calls and emails to people who may have been exposed to COVID-19 from another person infected with the virus.

“I think the contact tracing is very important, because if we have enough people to contact people before they’re actually exposing other people,” Columbia resident Christina Hartman said. “Ultimately, we’re reducing the load on hospital staff…It just has a trickle effect,” she said.

Browning said the health department is making a proposal to the Boone County Commission to get CARES Act funding to “expand our capacity for case investigations, contact tracing and other key functions.”

“This would allow us to free up some time to work with potential volunteers,” she said.

Hartman is one of 47 people on the list of potential volunteers. She said she recognized the need in the community and reached out to the health department.

“I don’t have any experience the health industry,” she said. “This was just one way I knew I could help.”

Earlier this week, Boone County reported its record-high for single day COVID-19 cases, with more than 450 people quarantining due to close contact.

“Due to the increase in cases, it may be several days before [Public Health and Human Services] is able to identify and contact all those who were directly exposed to the virus,” according to a news release from the health department.

On Thursday, Dr. Randall W. Williams, the director of the Missouri Health and Senior Services department, said the state will be providing local health departments with enough funding to add one additional contact tracer to its staff.

Watch KOMU 8 News at 6 and 10 p.m. for team coverage about the county's response and the first day of Columbia's mask ordinance.

More News

Grid
List
JEFFERSON CITY- Governor Parson held a press briefing Wednesday for the first time since testing positive for COVID-19. Parson... More >>
18 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 >>
20 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 >>
20 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 >>
20 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 >>
20 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 >>
22 hours 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 >>
23 hours 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
PARIS (AP) — Saying she is “struggling to walk,” Serena Williams ended her latest bid for a 24th Grand Slam... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 8:00:39 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
(CNN) — The World Health Organization has announced an agreement to make rapid Covid-19 tests available to lower and middle-income... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 7:39:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. Previous coverage: ... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 6:16:00 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
Columbia College launches a virtual tutoring program Columbia College is launching a virtual tutoring program on Thursday, October 1.... More >>
1 day ago Wednesday, September 30 2020 Sep 30, 2020 Wednesday, September 30, 2020 5:26:22 AM CDT September 30, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 62°
3pm 65°
4pm 63°
5pm 61°
6pm 59°