With a recent rise in local COVID-19 cases, Fredericksburg Rotary Club members are trying to fill the need of contact tracing in town. Morning Rotary Club member Marc Bennett was contacted by Hill Country Memorial Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jim Partin, who is also part of the Morning Rotary Club.
They began working on this immediately alongside Dr. Tom Hutton, past president of the Noon Rotary Club. “There are lots of people in this town who have nothing to do because they’re on lockdown,” Bennett said. “This would provide something productive that they could do to help the community.” Bennett said they’re seeking 20-30 locals to volunteer their time for the phone-based tracing. As of press time, 23 people had signed up. Bennett said Partin is working to get in touch with a trainer so he can set up a training session by the end of this week. This session would be a four-hour Zoom meeting that would inform volunteers about Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) laws and give them a course on how to contact trace. The meeting would be recorded so that volunteers who couldn’t participate in the live session could still be trained. Bennett also hopes to have an online portal where contact tracers can find a pool of people who have tested positive. To be involved, Bennett said one just needs to understand what the virus is, how it is transmitted and have good communication skills. This wouldn’t be a full-time job, Bennett said. Volunteers can make calls as their time allows. All contact tracing would be done over the phone. The project is in the early stages, as the Rotarians are still surveying community response. Bennett said he’s talked with a lot of community members so far, and has heard a lot of positive feedback. While 20-30 is a base number, Bennett wouldn’t mind having more. “Just imagine if we had 40-50 members, we could do some serious contact tracing,” Bennett said. For more information on how to help, email Bennett at Marc@whiteoakstudio.com.