FILE: COVID-19

Coronavirus (COVID-19) has been confirmed in 425 cases in the coverage area of the Central District Health Department in Nebraska (Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties) as of April 17, 2020.

ope体育By Dale Miller

dale.miller@hatsbe.com

As promised, assistance from the State of Nebraska to aid the Central District Health Department with contact tracing of COVID-19 cases began on Monday.

During a press conference on Friday, Gov. Pete Ricketts said the Central District would be the first of six health departments to receive addition support from state employees with contact tracing.

Central District Health Department director Teresa Anderson said the state’s support will be a big aid for her department.

“We need help with the number of cases that we’re facing,” Anderson said. “We have been able to keep up with contact tracing but barely.

ope体育“With the additional help, after people test positive or negative we’ll be able to follow up with them and be able to enter that data.”

The state is forming 10 teams that consist of a team leader, five people interviewing and 20 people contact tracing, which involves the tracing and monitoring of contacts of infected people.

Anderson said the additional people working on contact tracing in Hall, Hamilton and Merrick counties will allow follow-up interviews to drastically increase.

“One thing that this will do is allow us to contact people and make sure they are still in quarantine,” she said.

ope体育Central District Health Department employees along with some area nurses have been working long hours to keep up with contact tracing as the number of cases of COVID-19 in the area keeps climbing.

Having state employees help with contact tracing will allow some of those workers to focus on other needs.

“This will take some of that work load off of our staff so it can focus on the steps that are up next,” Anderson said. “What those steps are we don’t know right now because we’ve never been in a pandemic before.”

Contact tracing interviews are conducted via phone and are completely voluntary.

ope体育Anderson said this support is a key partnership between the State of Nebraska and the Central District Health Department to try and slow the spread of the cornonavirus in the area.

ope体育“I’m proud of the way that we are all working collaboratively,” Anderson said. “It shows that the state knows the needs of Grand Island.”

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