Only These 6 States Can Currently Contain COVID, New Research Shows
Most states are falling behind when it comes to a key method of containing COVID: contact tracing.
Combatting the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has proven to be a difficult battle, especially for the United States where case numbers continue to surge to nearly 5 million. Public health officials have said there are a few key elements to containing the virus: wearing masks, social distancing, and identifying and isolating people with COVID-19. A large part of that latter effort needs to be done by contact tracers, who track down the close contacts of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 to notify them of their possible exposure so that they can quarantine. According to Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the U.S. needs at least 100,000 contact tracers to effectively fight the pandemic. But a recent report from NPR, in collaboration with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, makes clear that the country is nowhere near those numbers. Currently, the U.S. only has a reported contact tracing workforce of 41,122, according to data from 45 states and Washington D.C.
Breaking those numbers down by state, NPR found that only six states can possibly contain COVID right now using contact tracers. The outlet previously reported that the number of contact tracers each state needs is dependent on a variety of factors, including population size, the number of positive cases, and the number of contacts per positive case. With that in mind, here are the only states that are properly equipped to contain COVID. And for more on getting ahead of the virus, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Is the Sign That a COVID-19 Surge Is Coming.
According to NPR's data, Maine needs 82 contact tracers to effectively contain coronavirus. Currently, they exceed that goal with 86 workers. And for more on how your state is doing, check out Here's How Much COVID Cases Are Rising in Every State.
NPR reports that the state of New Hampshire needs at least 108 contact tracers. With 110 current staffers, the state is currently exceeding that amount.
Vermont has an estimated population of less than one million, so the state doesn't need a high number of contact tracers. However, Vermont currently has 34 on staff, when NPR reports that they only need 27. And for more states on the right track, check out Dr. Fauci Says This Is Why Coronavirus Cases Are Dropping in Arizona.
Michigan is currently on NPR's list of states that can contain COVID through contact tracing, but only because they are using a large amount of workers on reserve. NPR estimates that the state needs at least 2,555 contact tracers and Michigan's current staff is only 1,000. However, with the addition of 3,000 reserve workers, Michigan is in a position to meet its contact tracing needs. And for more on the situation in this Midwest state, check out Michigan Just Issued a Surprising New Order to Curb Spiking COVID Cases.
Montana has also pushed ahead with the help of reserve contact tracers. The state currently has 200 staffers and is using 313 reserve workers, allowing Nebraska to surpass its estimated need of 440 contact tracers. And for more up-to-date information on the pandemic, sign up for our daily newsletter.
NPR reports that Hawaii needs 285 contact tracers to fight the pandemic. The state's main staff includes only 79 workers. But with the addition of 229 reserve workers, Hawaii is on track to contain COVID. And to see why the state might need those extra contact tracers, check out The Surprising Source of Hawaii's COVID Surge, According to Officials.