By Ellen Fike, Cowboy State Daily
A team of employees from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been deployed to Wyoming for a temporary mission at the Wyoming Department of Health.
According to a news release Tuesday, the team’s goal is to supplement the ongoing work at the WDH related to the coronavirus.
Dr. Alexia Harrist, state health officer and state epidemiologist with WDH, invited the CDC team to join her staff temporarily to help slow and limit the spread of the virus in Wyoming.
“The CDC indicated an interest in directing some of their staff toward protecting areas with relatively low levels of COVID-19 infections,” Harrist said. “The idea is to help maintain lower levels of illness in locations that haven’t yet been overcome as in other areas of the country.”
Approximately five CDC team members will support WDH through various efforts including: data systems and analysis; prevention, infection control and containment in long-term care and psychiatric facilities; community mitigation and infection prevention and control among tribal communities, and case identification and tracing.
Harrist said her WDH team and local health partners have used contact tracing as a key strategy at every step. Contact tracing happens when public health experts trace a sick patient’s steps and find out everyone they recently interacted with. This helps get disease outbreaks under control.
“We feel it’s been a helpful technique and one that our lower population has so far allowed to continue,” she said.