Staying a step ahead of the virus - FOX34 Lubbock

Staying a step ahead of the virus

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LUBBOCK COUNTY, Texas -

Belle Maldonado is doing some of the most important work during this pandemic, but you might not even know it.

She is one of about 20 contact tracers working behind the scenes to protect others.

"It feels really good, we've all come together, and we're all working towards one goal, which is slowing and stopping the spread of COVID-19," Maldonado said.

She usually works as a nurse at the Health Department's STD clinic.
But since mid-March, her job description has changed.

"Contact tracing" starts with a positive COVID-19 case and a series of questions.

"It's kind of difficult because, we try to walk them through, you know, this day did you go to work? What did you do after work? Did you go home? And still it's quite a process," Maldonado explained. "You don't think to try and go back and remember what you did 5, 7, 10 days ago."

But it doesn't end there. Part two means getting in contact with anyone who may have been directly exposed.

"You could spend, you know, 30 minutes on a case or you could spend all day on a case you know rundown that list  of contact that they have," Maldonado said.

From there, it could mean a 2 week quarantine, monitoring and check-ins every few days.
So far, out of 860 individuals they have monitored, they have discovered 85 positive cases.

"Think about it, if those we're people we were monitoring and we didn't have on quarantine," Maldonado said.

Things may get more complicated for the team as the county and state continue to take steps to re-open.

More movement, means more spread of the virus.

"So as we've opened up these people are getting out and about. So that contact tracing really comes into play because people aren't at home anymore, businesses are open they want to get out," Maldonado said.

There are plans to grow the team, to accommodate the expected increase in work load.

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