In the News
Spokane Health District Hires Group to Do Contact Tracing, as Cases Continue to Surge
- Spokane Spokesman-Review
In Washington, Spokane County has more robust public health staff compared to many counties around the state. Still, with the recent surge of coronavirus cases, the county needs help to manage the health crisis. More than 500 new cases were confirmed in Spokane County last week.
The Public Health Institute’s Tracing Health program has been retained to assist county health officials. In the Pacific Northwest, PHI works with the Oregon Public Health Institute on contact tracing. PHI and local health staff “will be coordinating closely to ensure the work we’re doing is seamless,” said county health officer Dr. Bob Lutz.
PHI will hire from the local area or the west coast, with contact tracers calling residents with local phone numbers. Twenty staff will be hired to start, with room to hire more contact tracers if needed.
Experts estimate that for every person who has the virus, that individual gives it to at least more than one other person on average. Tracing Health program director Dr. Marta Induni notes that contact tracing is a vital part of not only slowing the spread of the virus but eliminating the escalation of cases.
“If we can change that to just one, at least we would be flat on the transmission. It’s not just about not overwhelming hospitals, but that’s a lot of it, but it’s also making sure that people, when they do get sick, have the resources they need.” Dr. Marta Induni, program director, Tracing Health.
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Originally published by Spokane Spokesman-Review