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

1 month 4 days 18 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 – The Boone County Commission released a letter on Friday, defending decisions made concerning CARES Act funding. On... More >>
32 minutes 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 >>
1 hour ago Friday, August 14 2020 Aug 14, 2020 Friday, August 14, 2020 3:38:58 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 >>
3 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 >>
3 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 >>
6 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 >>
6 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 >>
6 hours 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 >>
6 hours 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 >>
7 hours 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 >>
7 hours 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 >>
9 hours 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 >>
11 hours 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 >>
21 hours 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 >>
22 hours 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 >>
23 hours ago Thursday, August 13 2020 Aug 13, 2020 Thursday, August 13, 2020 6:10:00 PM CDT August 13, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — The owner of one of Columbia's oldest buildings is glad he invested in fire sprinklers when he bought... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, August 13 2020 Aug 13, 2020 Thursday, August 13, 2020 5:58:00 PM CDT August 13, 2020 in News
WARDSVILLE - For the eighth consecutive season, Blair Oaks will start a Hair brother at quarterback this fall. From... More >>
23 hours ago Thursday, August 13 2020 Aug 13, 2020 Thursday, August 13, 2020 5:34:00 PM CDT August 13, 2020 in Sports
The American Psychiatric Association describes obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) as "an anxiety disorder in which time people have recurring, unwanted thoughts,... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, August 13 2020 Aug 13, 2020 Thursday, August 13, 2020 4:04:00 PM CDT August 13, 2020 in A Brighter Tomorrow
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 87°
6pm 84°
7pm 86°
8pm 81°
9pm 78°