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Health District looking for disease investigators

Posted at 4:53 PM, Jan 14, 2022

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — With a recent surge in COVID-19 cases happening throughout the Magic Valley and the Wood River Valley, the South Central Public Health District is looking to hire additional disease investigators to try and keep up with the demand and keep residents informed.

“We’re starting to see a few more people check into the hospitals, the testing clinics are getting overwhelmed," said Logan Hudson, the Public Health Division Administrator for the South Central Public Health District. "So we’re kind of starting to see the start of another surge.”

The primary work disease investigators focus on deals with contact tracing and notifying people of potential exposures.

“Those cases generally come in with a name, an address, and a phone number," said Hudson. "To get all that information that people want like where are these exposures happening? Where do people work that are getting the disease? We have to call these folks and ask them questions.”

The health district currently has roughly 15-20 disease investigators on its team. While it may sound like a sufficient number of employees, officials say that it's not enough and are struggling to keep up with their data collecting.

“It might take us a few weeks or a month to get it all and then have enough information to say, this is what we’ve seen," said Hudson. "That’s the biggest impact, it makes it difficult to keep and then for policymakers or decision-makers to make decisions based on real-time data.”

There are some criteria and experience that applicants must have in order to be considered for the position by the health district.

“People with a science background, maybe a degree in some science," said Hudson. "It also really helps to have customer service experience…a lot of time on the phone, and data entry experience.”

For those interested in applying for the position, the form can be found on the South Central Public Health District's website.