Volunteer ‘army’ being trained to help with contact tracing in Ohio

Local News

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – On Monday Dr. Amy Acton revealed the state is developing new coronavirus testing strategies to better contain the virus. She says a volunteer “army” will soon be ready to help the state’s professional healthcare workers. 

Before restrictions are eased and the state reopens the economy, better and more thorough testing must be conducted throughout Ohio. But a national shortage of tests means the state cannot pinpoint who is infectious and when and where it happened. Trained volunteers could soon be able to help. 

Dr. Amy Acton says, “This will all be key to us being able to control this virus from really getting out of hand into a huge spike.” 

A new strategy to track the spread of the coronavirus will also help the state eventually reopen the economy and ease restrictions on businesses. 

Governor DeWine says, “That is an essential component of getting back to work. Closer, yes, but we’re not there yet. Every day that goes by we have more ability to do testing.” 

On Monday Dr. Acton announced the state will train what she’s calling an army of volunteers that will help trace the coronavirus to better utilize the state’s resources. “Let’s just say we have the testing. You want to know someone is infectious the second they are. So, the quicker you can identify them is the very first step.” 

The CDC says contact tracing will identify people exposed to cases of infection, assess those contacts, and provide appropriate treatment. Dr. Acton says for weeks the state has partnered with medical schools and professional schools to train volunteers. “Alongside our experienced public health officials, we’re going to bring new troops to the table. It’s kind of bootstraps. But they’ll actually be doing a lot of this work virtually.” 

Additionally, she says the state will soon have mobile testers that will go to hotspots in order to quickly investigate. “We really need to do this part professionally and well, so that we don’t see a rebound.” 

Dr. Acton says so volunteers have already lined up to sign up online that the state can’t keep up right now. And for anyone concerned about funding, Dr. Acton adds these tracing efforts are cheap compared to the cost of ventilators, and the work needs to be done in order to prevent a rebound. 

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