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South Central Public Health District still looking to hire more disease investigators

Posted at 5:04 PM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-25 10:14:57-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — As the Omicron Variant continues to spread throughout the Magic Valley, the South Central Public Health District is continuing its search to hire additional disease investigators to keep up with the demand.

In a report done last week, the health district shared there were roughly 15-20 disease investigators working, with the majority being part-time.

The health district is looking for people to fill both full and part-time positions. So far, no one has been hired, but the health district has received multiple applications.

"It’s a very careful process because these disease investigators are working with extremely personal information," said Brianna Bodily, spokesperson for the South Central Public Health District. "We’re not willing to hire just anybody off of the street. We do have to make sure that they are able to keep this information absolutely confidential and handle these cases and talk with these individuals with a lot of empathy and respect."

Although it's very pressing to fill these positions, it may take some time to get more disease investigators working as soon as possible. The health district is currently in the interview process, and those who are hired, still need to attend training.

“Of course, there is the phone part, where we actually reach out and make those calls," said Bodily. "Then they have to enter this data into a couple of different systems, and they all work differently, so there is also some electronic, technical training that they require. Then there is the HIPAA training which is the confidentiality.”

With case counts increasing daily, the health district is altering how they conduct investigations. They will now be prioritizing people in the high-risk category due to how long it takes to finish a single investigation. Some people who test positive may not even be contacted by the health district anymore, because, by the time they reach out, that person may not even be sick by the time they reach them. However, officials encourage anyone with questions to reach out.

“It takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour to complete an investigation," said Bodily." So when we have…say 150 cases in a day, that’s 150 hours, and we have say 8 investigators on staff working 8 hours a day, that’s 64 cases.”

For anyone interested in applying for the positions, you can head to the health district's website or reach out at 208-737-5000.