VNA pioneered local contact tracing to manage COVID-19
A team of 12 was swiftly convened to track the disease
Contact tracing will be a driving force in controlling the spread of COVID-19, and staff from the VNA of Cape Cod have long been behind the wheel.
Prior to COVID-19, the VNA public health and wellness (PH&W) team, served as “contact tracers” for other communicable diseases on Cape Cod. When the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed on Cape Cod in mid-March, the team which is typically comprised of two nurses, had to swiftly scale to 12.
“Ramping up very quickly to a team of 12 without adding new hires was quite the feat for the agency” according to Ann-Marie Peckham, VNA president & CEO. “The passion this group has for protecting the well-being of our communities and the dedication to the cause has undoubtedly helped in keeping Barnstable County's COVID-19 count to the very low 0.3% rate that it's been.”
The contact tracing team has reached out to more than 3,000 people since it began tracing for the town’s health departments mid-March.
What’s been the biggest challenge for the team?
According to Sarah Endres, director of PH&W, “Gaining people’s trust - getting them to speak with us and share personal details on their employment, who they live with, etc., has been a big issue.”
“Many are upset with their positive results and want to maintain their privacy. Getting them to understand we are calling from a place of caring with the goal to protect their families, co-workers and close friends and for the safety of the general public - that can be a challenge.”
In the end, the team is finding that those who are angry or emotional at first, call back the next day when they are calm to review the information again. Most are thankful and surprised that this service and level of care exists.
Read more about the VNA's role in the state's contact tracing during the COVID-19 crisis.