Lewis County employees help public health workers with COVID contact tracing

WWNY Lewis County employees help public health workers with COVID contact tracing

LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - When it comes to COVID contact tracing, it’s the job of the county public health department. But with things so busy, people whose jobs have nothing to do with public health are now working to help public health.

“My name is Kurtis. I’m going to be calling every day.”

Kurtis Dicob works for Lewis County Office for the Aging, but he’s pitching in to help the county’s public health with COVID contact tracing.

“I typically do phone calls for an hour every day and that extends into the weekends. So we set aside an hour every weekend now to do that,” he said.

Dicob has learned a lot more than just picking up the phone.

“Being able to talk to these people, it’s crazy to hear what they’re facing every day. You hear some cases where they feel fine and everything’s perfect. But there are some people who are literally in tears because of this virus,” he said.

On top of those phone calls, the Office for the Aging continues its day-to-day tasks.

“Having that learning curve being added to our workload, it is stressful, but it feels so important,” said Crystal Collette, director, Lewis County Office For the Aging.

For the Department of Social Services, it isn’t just phone calls. Delivering groceries is part of the process.

“What do you need today? Can we get you a thermometer? Just things like that to make sure our people are taken care of,” said Jennifer Jones, director, Department of Social Services.

Department heads say it can be daunting, but it’s the little gestures that inspire them to keep giving their all.

“I know our staff are feeling recognized and celebrated for the time away from their families and managing the learning curve of working for public health, along with the added stress. When people feel celebrated and recognized, they’re able to dig a little deeper,” said Collette.

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