'People are still dying’: DPH expands contact tracing for COVID-19

'People are still dying’: DPH expands contact tracing for COVID-19

ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) -The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) is adding more staff to expand contact tracing for COVID-19.

“We don’t have effective treatment or a vaccine, so the share volume is one reason why we need more staff," said Director of Public Services, Charles Ruis.

DPH plans to add thousands of staff members to identify and mitigate hotspots of infections to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

Dr. Ruis said the staff will reach out to people who have been exposed to inform them to go into isolation.

Dr. Charles Ruis, Director of Public Services For Southwest, GA
Dr. Charles Ruis, Director of Public Services For Southwest, GA (Source: WALB)

“The virus can’t live forever on in one human being’s body because that human is going to generally develop immunity so the virus has got to jump around to other humans," said Ruis.

Dr. Ruis said the idea is to segregate those who have never been exposed from those who have been exposed. In time, Ruis says the virus will die out and go away.

“Without adding the staff, we simply wouldn’t be able to keep up with the numbers. The pandemic is still going. People are still getting sick with COVID, and unfortunately, people are still dying,” said Ruis.

The Health Department said about 250 contact tracers are deployed throughout the state and so far with this tactic, they have contacted over 3,000 people.

“I believe what will see in the community is fewer episodes of viral conditions, we will have fewer people that are sick, fewer people going to the hospital and the population will be healthier because of these measures,” said Ruis.

Dr. Ruis said he hopes this effort will decrease the spread of COVID-19 in hotspots like Dougherty County.

Copyright 2020 WALB. All rights reserved.