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County to hire public health nurses
covid-19 graphic coronavirus mask

MONROE — Green County Public Health is hiring on-call registered nurses to assist with COVID-19 contact tracing, testing and monitoring.

Federal funding to cover the extra positions is allocated through the state to Green County via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.

The county is approved to get reimbursed for just over $317,000, said RoAnn Warden, director of Green County Public Health. This money is available to cover costs associated with contact tracing and other COVID-19 monitoring through Dec. 31. 

A job listing for the on-call nurses posted in late June. The county is seeking to hire four to six nurses with flexible availability to work up to four hours daily, including daytimes, evenings and weekends.

A medical background is not required to conduct contact tracing calls, but Warden prefers that this work is done by nurses who are qualified to administer tests and give vaccines. Once a vaccine for COVID-19 becomes available, Warden anticipates that Green County Public Health will operate mass vaccination clinics.

Full-time staff at Green County Public Health need relief from the extra round-the-clock work associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, Warden told the county supervisors that oversee her department at their June meeting.

“Our nurses are working weekends. I’m really worried about their burnout. ... We need to take vacations. And it’s difficult to grant vacations when you’re in a pandemic,” she said.

Currently six in-house employees at the department are cross-trained to do contact tracing. But they still have their usual job responsibilities, and the department still has non-COVID work to do.

“We can’t always just be doing COVID here,” Warden said. “So I need to bring in additional staff.”

As of July 5, 98 Green County residents have tested positive for COVID-19. Of these, 12 were reported as active cases. No one is currently hospitalized. One Green County resident has died from COVID-19.

The rate for residents testing positive in the past two weeks, at 17 of 571 tested, is nearly 3%.

Green County’s activity level for COVID-19 is rated at “medium,” according to a state Department of Health Services formula based on case load and trajectory of infections. All the surrounding counties in southern Wisconsin are rated at “moderately high” or “high.”