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

1 month 5 days 11 hours 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
COLUMBIA- Volunteers worked to make 50,000 renewal kits for students, faculty, and staff. The kit is designed to curb... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 9:40:00 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY — JC Schools held a virtual session, Friday, to answer questions from parents and staff regarding the fall... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 7:28:00 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The Boone County Commission released a letter on Friday, defending decisions made concerning CARES Act funding. On... More >>
18 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 4:53:00 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Some ballots requested near the state's deadline may not be returned by mail in time to be... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 3:38:58 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — This school year, some parents are responsible for juggling jobs and helping teach their children outside the... More >>
19 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 3:28:00 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
KANSAS CITY (AP) — Police have identified a man who was found shot to death in a grassy lot in... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 2:12:00 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Police have charged a 25-year-old man with first-degree murder after they say he shot and killed a 5-year-old... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 2:02:01 PM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Missouri prosecutors on Wednesday came out against Republican Gov. Mike Parson's proposal to give the state attorney... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 11:15:49 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump is making clear why he opposes extra money for the cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service.... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 11:12:01 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
( Missourian ) - Want to support Columbia businesses that are struggling through the pandemic and not leave your... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 10:48:00 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — Police in southwestern Missouri are investigating the shooting death of a man in Springfield. Police said... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 10:41:41 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
ST. LOUIS — The newest Major League Soccer team will be called St. Louis City SC when it debuts... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 10:23:53 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 10:01:00 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Boris Johnson's latest strategy to fight coronavirus aims to make Britain healthier -- but campaigners are worried about... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 8:05:05 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — A man has been charged in the shooting death of a 4-year-old Kansas City, Missouri,... More >>
1 day ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 6:09:31 AM CDT August 14, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Forum Boulevard closed throughout the night for construction workers to build storm sewer drainage between Green Meadows Road... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 13 2020 Aug 13, 2020 Thursday, August 13, 2020 7:44:00 PM CDT August 13, 2020 in Continuous News
COLUMBIA - Columbia’s City Council discussed homelessness Thursday during their budget work session. Ward 1 Council Member, Pat Fowler,... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 13 2020 Aug 13, 2020 Thursday, August 13, 2020 7:16:00 PM CDT August 13, 2020 in News
(AP) - The NCAA will not conduct fall championship events - a move that does not effect major college football... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 13 2020 Aug 13, 2020 Thursday, August 13, 2020 6:10:00 PM CDT August 13, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 80°
12pm 83°
1pm 84°
2pm 85°
3pm 84°