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PHD seeking volunteers

by REED PERRY
Staff Writer | August 9, 2020 1:00 AM

The Panhandle Health District is seeking volunteers for its Reserve Medical Corps to assist with contact tracing of confirmed coronavirus cases and respond to public inquiries in their call center.

“We call upon volunteers when we need to scale up staffing” said Katherine Hoyer, the communications officer for the health district, “Many of our volunteers have put in hundreds of hours and we always have a need.”

The Medical Reserve Corps is comprised of community members with and without medical training, led by public health professionals. Volunteers are trained to assist during public health incidents and emergencies.

Hoyer explained how the process works. “When we get a lab confirmed (COVID-19) case, we start the timeline 48 hours prior to testing. Then we start a case investigation and notify people who have been in close contact with a positive case. We don’t reveal any identities, but inform them of exposure.”

The health district believes that cases will decline if the public is properly informed of their exposure. “It insures a positive case stops spreading,” she said, “Hopefully those exposed begin to isolate or get tested, which is what we advise.”

In the state of Idaho, patients need a health provider’s referral in order to get lab testing for coronavirus. Some states have made emergency exemptions to this regulation. “If they don’t have insurance or a health provider, we will write a reference for them,” said Hoyer.

According to a media release from the health district, call operators have fielded more than 10,000 phone calls. “This is the biggest increase we’ve had,” Hoyer said, “and so it’s a critical time.”

To volunteer with MRC visit www.volunteeridaho.com.