Tracers take fight to Covid
SINCE the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, public health unit contact tracers have been at the forefront of attempting to stop the spread of the virus.
Darling Downs Public Health Unit clinical nurse Liz Jones said contact tracing aimed to find, test and isolate potentially infectious individuals to limit the spread.
SINCE the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, public health unit contact tracers have been at the forefront of attempting to stop the spread of the virus.
But their work extends beyond QR codes and check in apps.
Darling Downs Public Health Unit clinical nurse Liz Jones made the transition from a refugee health nurse working out of Koby House at Toowoomba Hospital to working in public health at the start of the pandemic.
Ms Jones said the aim of contact tracing was to find, test and isolate potentially infectious individuals to limit the spread in the community.
“As we know with Covid, but also with diseases such as measles, or gastro, ‘bugs’ pass from person to person, they don’t travel by themselves,” she said.
“So if we stop those who are unfortunate to carry the bug from moving around, we are stopping the ‘bug’ from spreading to more people, which it has to do to survive.
“We get a list of people who may have attended an exposure site where a Covidpositive case visited, confirm their ID and that they were at the venue at the same time as the case.”
Ms Jones said the challenges of the job went beyond tracking down people that might have been exposed to Covid-19.
“It’s hard when our work negatively impacts people, causing them to miss long waited for appointments, or visits with loved ones, or peace of mind with work.
“And when there’s multiple exposure sites, like the recent Delta outbreak in Brisbane, it was a huge deluge in workload to get on and contact as many people as we can as quickly as possible,” she said.
“Once people are in quarantine, staff from the Public Health Unit also do daily welfare phone calls to check on symptoms and their wellbeing, as well as to double check they are remaining quarantined.”
Ms Jones said while what they asked people to do was inconvenient and stressful, many people had taken the attitude their sacrifice contributed to community safety.
“Most people I’ve spoken to are obviously worried that they may have been exposed, however are eager to learn what they can do to further protect themselves and others,” she said.
“We’ve had some lovely kind words of gratitude from community members we’ve helped, as the challenges to quarantine can range from logistics, care commitments, financial support and information.”