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WKYT Investigates: COVID trackers

Our COVID case count remains high across the state, and our health department workers are putting in long hours to both collect and count all the data.
WKYT Investigates: COVID trackers
Published: Jan. 27, 2022 at 2:13 PM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Our COVID case count remains high across the state, and our health department workers are putting in long hours to both collect and count all the data. In Lexington alone, the health department has hired dozens of contract workers to help with contact tracing.

Zara Bullock started working at the Lexington-Fayette County Health Department in April of 2020. At that time, COVID was still relatively new.

“We were logging about three to six cases a day,” remembers Bullock. “We were doing a lot of thorough work with each case.”

Bullock and her colleagues were working closely with just a fraction of the number of COVID-positive patients as what they now see. Within a year and a half, Bullock went from a few positive cases a day, to a couple hundred. Now, the county averages more than 1,000 a day. Bullock does have help - dozens of contract workers have been working the phones and logging case information.

“We started with ten and now I think we have well over 100, and at our biggest surges in the response we’ve had over 150 contract staff,” she notes. “I’m one of the folks that kind of looks at that person reaching out and tries to help them. So each person has their own story, and they’re not just another COVID-19 case and that matters to me, that matters to I know the rest of the staff that work on the response.”

If the case counts seem overwhelming to you, imagine what it’s like for Bullock. She gets a fax, through her email, for every single confirmed COVID case in the county. On the busiest of days, that’s more than a thousand e-mails.

“There’s definitely frustration this time around compared to previous surges because this year we have vaccines in our toolbox,” she says. “As soon as we get in for the day we gather all the data we’ve analyzed from the previous day from interviews and talking to all of the different folks who’ve recently tested positive, and we analyze the data and put it on the website.”

Bullock and her colleagues are hopeful the COVID case count will fall, but current trends don’t show that happening soon.

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