Riding the Tidal Wave of the Coming Public Health Economy
5 min podcast >A Day In The Life Of A Coronavirus Contact Tracer
Are the US and state governments being dragged kicking and screaming into an unprecedented massive investment for contact tracing? As governments extol the quick recovery from the virus pandemic, experts keep talking of repeating infection waves since our fragmented bureaucracy cannot get a handle what the virus is really doing in this country until massive resources are committed to tracking it down. Fighting over costs will be swept away into absolute submission and a new economy. Other countries and a few States are leading the way. Watch for new remote and compassionate footwork jobs to start appearing. Contract tracing needs empathy. Everyone is frightened when contacted. — DH
“NPR’s Michel Martin speaks with John Welch, the director of partnerships & operations for Massachusetts’ COVID-19 response at Partners In Health, about their contact tracing program and training.
“Public health experts say that one of the keys to safely lifting stay-at-home orders around the country is contact tracing. So we wanted to spend some time now learning more about what it takes to implement a statewide contact tracing program and how people are being trained for this…
“It is exactly as you described it, a ramp-up at this stage, a lot of quick hiring and, you know, in-depth training and making sure we have the right people who have the right skills but then most importantly people who have the patience and the empathy to listen. They’re reaching out to people who are in crisis and some people who are in acute crisis sort of superimposed on a chronic crisis of maybe poverty or marginalization.
“And those individuals need extra time and not only need it – they deserve it. So these contact tracers are balancing the need for understanding how to do the work while also just being a gentle ear…You know, first and foremost, we’re very sensitive to a variety of populations who might not be interested in anyone who’s sort of affiliated with state government reaching out to them.
“And we’re very sensitive to that and want all those individuals to know that this is a public health activity, that their information is very safe with us and that our interest is in helping them and keeping their families and friends safe.But then the folks who we do get in touch with are actually by and large relieved, you know.
“We live in a world now, in this country where to receive health care, you’ve got to go and find it. And this activity is care coming to find you. So while contact tracing is an important epidemiological tool, it’s also an act of caring. And I think by and large people are really relieved to receive that phone call.
6 minute podcast and Continue reading much more of the interview at Source: >What It Takes To Be A Contact Tracer : NPR
4 minute podcast, some excerpt below and much more at >We Asked All 50 States About Their Contact Tracing Capacity. Here’s What We Learned :
“We are investigating the relentless math of containing the pandemic. The next phase of fighting the coronavirus leans heavily on contact tracing. And numbers will measure the result. How many people have tested positive? How many people have they recently contacted? And how quickly can those people be quarantined?
“To establish those numbers, the United States needs a very large workforce of people to do contact tracing. Are we hiring enough people? NPR’s Selena Simmons-Duffin has spent the last week putting that question to officials in every single state, along with Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. And she’s on the line. Selena, good morning.
SELENA SIMMONS-DUFFIN, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.
INSKEEP: What’d you find?
SIMMONS-DUFFIN: So we were able to get data from 41 states. And the total they currently have added up to 7,300. Most states said they were planning a hiring surge. And after that, we will have 35,600. This is a snapshot from the past week. And a lot is in flux. But that’s our best estimate for what’s planned, more than 35,000 contact tracers nationally.
INSKEEP: Which sounds like a lot. But is that enough?
SIMMONS-DUFFIN: The short answer is not even close. Yesterday on the show, you had some influential former officials saying the country needs 180,000 total. Other estimates have put the number needed at 100,000. Here’s what Tom Frieden, former CDC director, told me about the totals we found.
TOM FRIEDEN: It’s a start. I think an increasing number of health departments around the country recognize the need to substantially scale up activities.