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Health

Yellowstone County Trains School Staff To Help With Contact Tracing

pencils clustered together on a table
Mark Bonica
/
Flickr
The Yellowstone County health department is onboarding school staff to track down the close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19.

The Yellowstone County health department is on-boarding school staff to track down the close contacts of people who test positive for COVID-19.

RiverStone Health says this week it trained roughly 100 staff members at several schools to assist with contact tracing efforts.

Positive cases of COVID-19 statewide have spiked since schools reopened in August, and RiverStone Health currently rates its case investigation capacity as red on a stoplight scale.

RiverStone Health Spokesperson Barbara Schneeman says the department currently has 43 people contact tracing, which is the equivalent of 21 full time contact tracers.

Billings Public Schools Superintendent Greg Upham says the newly deputized principals, nurses and administrative staff will now be able to reach out to contacts and quarantine individuals.

“RiverStone Health, public health, was spread too thin," said Upham. "And we have the ability to get to the classroom much quicker than they did, and so the whole idea of contact tracing and being able to keep the virus at bay is to do the contact tracing as quickly as possible and so, that allowed us to do that.”

RiverStone Health Spokesperson Barbara Schneeman says among the districts to receive training so far are Custer Public Schools, Elder Grove School District and Billings Catholic Schools.