An Army of Contact Tracers Will Bend the COVID-19 Curve
A Press Statement from the National Coalition of STD Directors
April 6, 2020
Washington, DC – Responding to COVID-19 requires skilled public health workers trained in contact tracing, community education, surveillance data collection, testing, and health care navigation. These are the core functions of public health STD prevention programs who do this work every day. STD Disease Investigation Specialists (DIS) are trained and uniquely skilled to carry out this lifesaving work.
To date, the majority of the 1,600 STD DIS are redeployed to fight COVID-19 through contact tracing and emergency response, but there are not enough of these workers to meet the growing need.
“DIS are trained to perform fundamental public health activities, like contact tracing. These public health emergency responders are our best bet to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 and get America working again. The time is now to stand up an army of these public health workers,” says David C. Harvey, executive director for the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD).
The CARES Act, the relief funding recently signed into law by the President, will offer a much-needed stimulus to Americans and our economy. Included in the legislation is an additional $1.5 billion for the CDC. At least $200 million of these funds must be allocated to the CDC’s Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) to build that army of DIS. DSTDP has the mechanisms in place to hire, train, and deploy these workers, but time is of the essence.
“We cannot delay. An army of DIS doing effective contact tracing can not only flatten the curve, but bend the curve downward. We look to our leaders at CDC and in Congress to answer the call,” says Harvey.
Contact: Matt Prior, firstname.lastname@example.org, 570-878-3847
The National Coalition of STD Directors is a national public health membership organization representing health department STD directors, their support staff, and community-based partners across 50 states, seven large cities, and eight US territories. Our mission is to advance effective STD prevention programs and services across the country. NCSD does this as the voice of our membership. We provide leadership, build capacity, convene partners, and advocate. Go to ncsddc.org for more information.