Carrie Klumb, Dept. of Health, Local 902
We’re the voice for healthcare workers on the frontlines
I am a senior epidemiologist with the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). In addition to my normal roles as rabies surveillance coordinator and working to keep farmers in our state healthy, I’m now part of the team that helps monitor healthcare workers exposed to COVID-19. My team assess their exposure risk level, actively monitors these healthcare workers for 14 days, and provides advice to facilities.
Our role in this response gives us the unique opportunity to be the voice for healthcare workers on the frontlines. Often, we are the only people talking to these healthcare workers and checking in on them on a regular basis. We hear their concerns about lack of personal protection equipment and other safety issues and are then able to feed those concerns up the chain.
It’s all hands-on deck at the Health Department right now. Colleagues from across the agency are stepping up and stepping into roles they’ve never held before. They are helping interview cases and healthcare workers exposed to cases, and answering calls on the public and provider hotlines. It’s been amazing to see colleagues working outside their regular duties and quickly adapting to their new roles. Because of the amount of contact tracing we’ve been able to do, we’ve gained insight into how this disease has spread within our communities.