TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) - The COVID-19 pandemic has been stretching resources thin at the local health department. And it's not just the employees that are working harder than ever, it's also the technology they use.
The department wants to create a digital COVID-19 database that would allow public health workers to better track positive cases and identify hot spots in the community, says Khala Hochstedler, an administrator at the Tippecanoe County Health Department
"Right now, I manually enter all of our COVID-19 cases into a spreadsheet and then take the addresses and pinpoint them myself, and so that is pretty time consuming, but that is how we figure out if we have clusters or not," Hochstedler says.
When it comes to data collection, the health department hasn't seen anything like the COVID-19 pandemic, she adds.
"We do small data collection and pinpoint stuff to see if we have a cluster of an STD in our community, to figure out the hotspots, but not to this scale where we're inputing 30 or more a day to see, so it has been challenging," Hochstedler says.
Some health department employees have had to work from home due to quarantine. Employees are also working nights and weekends more often. That means the department needs more laptops and cell phones, as well as wireless networking points to keep sensitive data secure, Hochstedler says.
The Indiana State Department of Health is offering a grant for COVID-19-related internet technology needs across the state. The grant is part of the federal CARES Act.
Tippecanoe County commissioners gave approval to apply for the grant during a meeting Monday.