Dane County public health officials ramp up staff for contact tracing

Published: Apr. 28, 2020 at 10:11 PM CDT
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State health officials announced today they are ramping up testing and contact tracing. While there are reports of contact tracing staff shortages in our state, that's not the case in Dane County.

Public Health Madison & Dane County officials said they recently hired retirees to become fully staffed to meet the demand.

"A lot of phone calls. A lot of trying to get a hold of people that may not want to be bothered," Eva Radomski, Public Health Madison & Dane County nurse said.

Radomski explained she’s a nurse, but lately she feels like an investigator.

"There's days when we definitely feel like detectives," she said.

If someone tests positive for the Coronavirus in Dane County, Radomski is on the case.

She does contact tracing. It's a method to limit the spread of COVID-19 by alerting people who were exposed to the person who tested positive.

"Sometimes it's difficult to remember where they've been so we try our best to help them remember everyone they've been around," she said.

For example, if person A has COVID-19, Radomski would ask who they were in contact with two days before their symptoms started. Then, if they were in contact with two people, she would call person B and C to let them know they may have been exposed to COVID-19.

"Letting them know that they've possibly been exposed to COVID-19 is a way to let them know they should self isolate to minimize the spread of the disease as well," Radomski said.

She said the Safer at Home order makes the list a bit shorter because most people are listening to the order.

"So a lot of the contacts that we contact are just household contacts or coworkers if they're essential workers," Radomski said.

The Wisconsin Department of Health Services said the goal is to have 1,000 contract tracers. They also plan to start contact tracing when a person is tested rather than after they test positive.