DOH looking to boost COVID case investigators

Coronavirus

HONOLULU (KHON2) — The number of contact tracers in Hawaii is now around 300 and growing, but the State Department of Health still wants to boost its staff of case investigators.

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The DOH told lawmakers on Oct. 8 that they only have 14 investigators who figure out where cases and clusters are coming from after contact tracers make initial calls. House members also pressed the DOH about why more details aren’t revealed about the exact locations of clusters.

“If we’re perceived as providing information that could be identifying them, that’s yet another reason for people not to talk to us. So we are most effective when we can maintain that confidentiality, and it is important to us to share data that is not going to be identifying and that is meaningful for action,” explained DOH Acting State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Kemble.

The new department director, Dr. Libby Char, emphasized how mitigation measures need to be practiced by everyone statewide in order to stop COVID: wearing masks, handwashing, distancing and quickly isolating cases.

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