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Contact tracing: Big move to reassign public service workers to track coronavirus patients' movements

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ITALIAN EXPERIENCE: Paramedics carry a hazardous medical waste box as patients lie on camping beds in an emergency structures set up at the Brescia hospital, Italy. Photo: Luca Bruno

ITALIAN EXPERIENCE: Paramedics carry a hazardous medical waste box as patients lie on camping beds in an emergency structures set up at the Brescia hospital, Italy. Photo: Luca Bruno

AP

ITALIAN EXPERIENCE: Paramedics carry a hazardous medical waste box as patients lie on camping beds in an emergency structures set up at the Brescia hospital, Italy. Photo: Luca Bruno

A big ramping up in the tracking of coronavirus patients' movements will see thousands of public service workers reassigned to contact tracing.

The race to fight the spread of Covid-19 will see unprecedented levels of the movement of civil servants into new roles.

Departments will also shift staff to help with the processing of social welfare payments for 140,000 workers who have lost their jobs during the crisis.

Contact tracing and surveillance activities are viewed as an essential component of the public health response to Covid-19.

The HSE are progressing the “urgent ramping up” of the contact tracing operation, with the immediate mobilisation of additional public sector workers to assist its Public Health departments in carrying out this vital work.

Staff from the Army are already in place and a number of universities and colleges are helping to train the staff for the task.

“The process of identifying, training and mobilising further staff will continue apace this week,” a spokesperson for the Department of Public Expenditure (DPER) said.

All Government department are understood to be showing a great willingness to have staff assist in whatever way they can, including those working from home or in the office.

A list of staff to be reassigned is being compiled by DPER.

“We are seeking to temporarily assign staff to critical areas, including in the HSE for contact tracing and to support additional demand for Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection,” a spokesperson said.

A process to facilitate efficient allocation of resources across the public service is being developed across the system and will go live soon.

Contact Tracing happens when a patient tests positive for Covid-19.

The patient who tested positive is known as the “Index Case”.

Every person who has been in contact with the patient is contacted by the HSE.

And those regarded as close contacts are at risk and asked to restrict their movements.

Online Editors