School Nurses Help Local Health Departments Meet Contact Tracing Needs

doctor-4188106_1920 - pixabay - 5.7.20In some counties school nurses are being reassigned to help local health departments with contact tracing — a key component for successfully responding to and containing the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Public health officials in Baltimore, Anne Arundel, and Carroll Counties are working with school nurses who have been reassigned to help with contact tracing. In some cases, the nurses themselves are performing the traces and in other cases, they are assisting the health departments so that other staff are freed up to do the tracing.

From The Baltimore Sun:

Working from home, they collect data and explain to patients how to isolate themselves and best protect their family members. They also conduct interviews to determine who these residents recently had close interactions with — a first step in a process known as contact tracing that experts say will be vital to containing the virus and allowing governments to lift stay-at-home orders. The health department then notifies the people with possible exposure so they can quarantine.

Contract tracing will play an important part in plans for communities to reopen. The article notes a Johns Hopkins report that found 100,000 contract tracers will be needed at a cost of $3.6 billion nationwide. On a local level, the article states that Baltimore County currently has 52 tracers and hopes to hire 60 more in the next few months.

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Baltimore-area school nurses are helping health departments track and contain the coronavirus (The Baltimore Sun)