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With the proliferation of COVID-19 cases, St. Louis’ contact tracing efforts are struggling to catch up.Metro

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However, Missouri trained a team of 50 employees from existing state health departments to assist local civil servants, relying primarily on city and county health departments to lead the effort.

Rural jurisdictions move from paper charts, update computer systems, obtain federal stimulus funds, remodel employees from other public health activities, hire and train new contact tracers Was scrambled. Efforts will continue as the number of cases increases and challenges change.

“It’s not a perfect system,” Ave said. “We often say in the health department that we are navigating a ship when we are building it.”

Officials said at a recent budget meeting that there were three people at the St. Louis County Health Department in January and the budget spent on epidemics and contact tracing was $ 3.16 million. Today, the county has about 140 temporary workers and 180 volunteers, spending about $ 15 million a month. Most of them are federal coronavirus aid, relief, financial security, or CARES, pandemic relief funds.

However, federal bailouts will run out at the end of the year. Next year, the county wants to welcome 90 new employees dedicated to COVID-19 compliance, which may include vaccine distribution. Authorities predict that costs will be nearly $ 14.4 million, an increase of 24% in the health sector’s budget.

The county also hires St. Louis University to provide additional “booster” training for contact tracers, improve data collection and analysis, and can be used by staff to get information more easily from positive cases. We spent $ 600,000 on the Federal Relief Fund to provide a mobile app. Their contact information.

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