Public Health hires more COVID-19 contact tracers

Board of Supervisors
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     With the increase of COVID-19 cases in Jones County, Emergency Management Coordinator Brenda Leonard said she is on the search for more PPE.

     During the Jones County Supervisor meeting on July 28, Leonard said people have been reaching out to her due to issues with not being able to secure N95 facemasks. She’s hearing from dentists, healthcare professionals, and a few businesses.

     Leonard said homemade facemasks are still needed and helpful, especially those with room for a filter.

     “The filter is recommended,” she said. “It’s better than nothing.”

     Public Health Coordinator Jenna Lovaas updated the board on the current COVID-19 case count. As of Tuesday, July 28, there were 20 open cases and 31 probable cases. This brings the county’s accumulated total to 111 since the pandemic began.

     “Now they’re coming in at a steady pace versus a flood of cases,” Lovaas said of the increase.

     Lovaas also shared that testing sites across the state, as well as local health providers, are taking three to four days to process a COVID-19 test. She also said providers are limiting how often people can test.

     “You lose time to contain the spread,” she said.

     The board did approve the hiring of two temporary contact tracers from now through the rest of the year. Lovaas said one of the two is already assisting Public Health. The other is delayed in coming to Iowa via Wisconsin, but will provide bi-lingual services once she arrives.

     In addition, Lovaas said she was contacted by Delaware County Public Health. Delaware County has also seen an increase in cases numbers, and is in the same low-staffing situation as Jones County in terms of their Public Health COVID tracing services. Lovaas said Delaware County is looking to share contact tracers with Jones County.

     “This will provide them with a more steady workflow,” she explained, “by covering two small counties.”

     The board’s approval for the tracers included the possibility of sharing services with Delaware County Public Health.


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