Ala. health department considering hiring more staff for contact tracing in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Ala. health department considering hiring more staff for contact tracing in response to COVID-19 pandemic
(Source: HNN)

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - It is all hands-on deck as the state works to track down anyone possible exposed to COVID-19. The practice is called contact tracing.

The Alabama Department of Public Health says they are using every employee possible to take on the enormous task of contact tracing. Now, the state is considering ways to mitigate the workload.

“Our contact tracers, right now, are working 10 days in a row without a break and that's a lot,” said Dr. Karen Landers with ADPH.

Dr. Karen Landers says the state has not made any hires but is utilizing current staff.

“Our Bureau of communicable disease employees, some medical students, and also we're using our other Public health disciplines including our environmentalist,” said Landers.

However, current staff also have other responsibilities.

“Especially in programs such as tuberculosis control where obviously we're doing dual work, in vaccine, preventable diseases and immunization, STD, HIV we do expect that we are going to need to return these people back to their programs,” Landers explained.

Dr. Landers says the state is considering several options including hiring more staff dedicated to contact tracing. Those plans are still in the works.

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