Spokane Health Officials To Call On Volunteers For Contact Tracing

Apr 23, 2020

The Spokane Regional Health District may rely on volunteers to help staff members expand their work to call people who had contact with people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Credit Missy Nadvornick

Washington Governor Jay Inslee says the state expects to soon expand coronavirus testing around the state as more kits become available.

Along with that will be an increase in contact tracing. That’s the detective work done by health organizations to pinpoint who people with the coronavirus have had contact with.

“Between our state and local health jurisdictions, we expect roughly 1,500 workers focused solely on contact tracing by the second week of May," Inslee said.

Inslee says that group may include members of the Washington National Guard and volunteers.

In Spokane, health officer Bob Lutz says members of the Spokane Alliance, a labor and environmental group, have provided volunteer service to supplement local health district workers. And he has his eye on another potential labor pool.

“There’s an untapped resource out there called professional students that have been working virtually. They are a great resource and what a great way to learn about epidemiology and public health than to be doing contact tracings. Can they be recruited? We’re actually in the process of looking at that," Lutz said.

Lutz talks about contact tracing, expanded Covid testing and other related issues on a new Inland Journal podcast, now up on the SPR website.