Health Workforce Innovations in Response to the COVID Pandemic
Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator
There remain several uncertainties and unknowns with COVID-19, including the workforce capacity needs for contact tracers.
As testing capacity increases, the number of cases may also increase, further increasing the number of CTs needed. Counties and states requiring high numbers of CTs or lacking the number needed to manage their 14-day caseloads may want to reconsider moving from mitigation to containment strategies.
The Contact Tracing Workforce Estimator (CT Estimator) is a tool for state and local leaders to prepare for COVID-19 contact tracing in order to safely reopen and protect the health of communities.
The CT Estimator uses a baseline of 15 CTs per 100,000 population and increases the number of CTs, as needed, to contact trace the 14-day number of new COVID-19 cases for each county over the course of a week (JHU CSSE). Preset case contacts and CT work capacity (e.g. the number of case interviews, contact notifications, and contact follow-ups a CT can conduct daily) were set according to available data and expert opinion. The preset parameters assume number of case contacts with social distancing and work capacity to include some social needs evaluation and case management.
Current estimates for a contact tracing workforce vary widely in the US from 100,000 to 300,000 and were largely developed using population-based ratios from other settings (Table 1). While this strategy allows for broad estimates, it does not account for regional outbreaks and case variability currently seen in the United States. Similarly, participation with contact tracing by a population and efficiencies within a health department also vary regionally affecting workforce needs.
Other Health Care Workers
Located in the Department of Health Policy at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C., the Mullan Institute not only draws upon the resources from the National Capital Area, but also GW's diverse and distinguished faculty. The Mullan Institute consists of a group of faculty and staff from the Milken Institute School of Public Health, School of Nursing, School of Medicine and Health Sciences, School of Business, Graduate School of Education & Human Development, and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. The group represents an array of disciplines, including economics; anthropology; health services research; and education; as well as the professional perspectives of medicine; nursing; physician assistants; and pharmacists. This is consistent with GW’s goal of building on its unique location, expertise in governance and policy orientation and its commitment to cross disciplinary scholarship.