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Texas A&M AgriLife employees volunteer to make
phone calls to potential COVID-19 infected individuals
By Dakota McDonald—
With an upsurge in COVID-19 cases, the Lubbock Health Department has more work than it can handle so Garza County Extension Service employees have stepped in by calling potentially infected individuals.
In fact, many Texas A&M AgriLife employees around the South Plains did their part, making phone calls for the Health Department, including Garza County Agriculture Extension Agent Danya Peterson.
“Covid-19 had not really sunk in for me until I had to start calling the positive cases,” Peterson said.
With 11 agents in surrounding counties trained to make the calls, the volunteers worked in groups of two per shift. Peterson said one volunteer contacts the isolation cases that have tested positive for Covid-19, and the other person calls those who have come in contact with the positive case individual.
Agents who contact the isolation cases inform the individuals that the State of Texas requires isolation of positive cases, she said. The agent also informs the individuals of isolation guidelines to help prevent spreading of the virus. Agents also provide positive cases with a letter of isolation to present to employers if necessary.
Peterson said agents who call contact cases inform the individuals that they have come into contact with an infected person. Isolation guidelines also are given to the contact cases. These guidelines state the individual must stay isolated for a period of 14 days.
During the last week of isolation, agents send out release letters stating isolated individuals can return to work on a certain date.
Peterson said individuals’ reactions to the calls vary greatly, saying some took the information with a grain of salt while others feared the loss of income.
She said she is grateful that Garza County cases have remained in single digits.
“Hearing their stories and concerns made me very thankful that I live in a low case county,” Peterson said. “Judge Lee Norman did an amazing job keeping our numbers low.”