Hudson Selectmen, Health Department mull accepting volunteer contact tracers

193

By Dakota Antelman, Contributing Writer

Hudson – The Hudson Health Department just hired a new part time contact tracer to aid the COVID-19 fight. But even that may still not be enough help as the pandemic overwhelms municipal capabilities, officials said Dec. 7.

Answering questions from Selectman Fred Lucy, in particular, Executive Assistant Tom Moses and Health Director Kelli Calo, thus, tentatively broached a possible remedy — they’re considering accepting volunteers onto Hudson’s tracing team.

“We certainly would value more people doing contact tracing,” Calo told the board. “It’s very overwhelming for our department right now…and I only see it getting worse.”

Hudson set a new record, between Nov. 30 and Dec. 7, recording 76 new coronavirus infections. That’s the most in any given week since the pandemic began.

After an observed spike in cases after Thanksgiving, and with holidays later this month looming, there’s fear this surge could only intensify.

Though they may offer a solution, Moses and Calo agree volunteer positions are not ideal.

Contact tracers frequently get yelled at, Calo noted.

Privacy concerns and at times fiery conversations on social media, further, could also be problematic, as Calo said volunteers would need to absolutely understand and adhere to the federal requirements known as HIPAA.

“I want to make sure people know what they’re getting into if they take on this volunteer position,” Calo told selectmen and gathered attendees of their virtual meeting.

While the selectmen and health department came to no formal consensus on concrete plans for volunteer contact tracing, Chairman Joe Durant and Calo agree all interested parties should contact Calo at [email protected]