Georgia Public Health Department boosts workforce to monitor COVID-19
Tuesday, June 2, 2020
ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - The Georgia Department of Public Health and the CDC are working together to add more staff and expand contact tracing.
The Georgia Department of Public Health is working around the clock to monitor the spread of COVID-19, adding more staff to monitor those who have been infected with the virus.
“First thing, we do is call in the contact investigation, so we will have a nurse or an epidemiologist staff member to call that infected individual to find out all we can about their case, to advise the on isolation and so forth,” said Director of Public Services Charles Ruis.
Dr. Ruis said when investigating an outbreak, it only requires a small staff. However, when dealing with the Coronavirus, the numbers are much more serious.
“The sheer volume is one reason why we need more staff another thing we are doing is a thing called active monitoring with COVID-19,” said Ruis.
Dr. Ruis said thousands of people have been contacted already with the hundreds of newly hired contact tracers. Ruis is asking the community to continue to work with the Department of Public Health by answering phone calls from them.
“We need to talk to them about the importance of quarantining themselves, it helps to protect their family, their neighborhood and the community at large,” said Ruis.
Dr. Ruis said the Department of Public Health and U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention hope that this effort will keep the public safe from seeing an increase in cases.
"So by bringing in the new employees on board and volunteers, we believe we will be able to provide real-time information to those who are infected and to those who are at risk and if we can advise them on the safe behaviors. I believe what we will see is fewer cases of viral transmissions,” said Ruis.
Ruis said people are encouraged to call the DPH directly to report their symptoms.