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Ector County facing shortage of contact tracers

The county health department hopes that making new hires will allow them to meet rising contact tracing demands.

ODESSA, Texas — The Ector County Health Department is facing a shortage of COVID-19 contact tracers due to the recent spike in cases in the Permian Basin.

Ector County Commissioner Eddy Shelton tells NewsWest 9 that the county is unable to contact trace people who have tested positive through an antigen rapid test.

"We would love to do that but we do not have the resources," he said Wednesday.

County data shows 233 people have tested positive through the rapid antigen test in Ector County.

The county is now working with hiring agency 1staffing to recruit the contact tracers, the application for the position can be found by clicking this link.

The need for manpower comes after many of the initial contact tracing staff pulled from other Ector County departments had to return to their normal positions as the county began the reopening process. 

"Since everything has opened up, they're needed at their own department and they had to go back. That is one of the reasons we are working on hiring more contact tracers in the health department," Ector County Health Department Director Brandy Garcia said.

Garcia also said that current health department staff will be assisting the new hires with the contact tracing process.

The 1staffing application states that the county is looking for 15-20 qualified individuals with solid interpersonal communication skills to conduct the testing.

A high school diploma or GED is required for the position and applicants must be bilingual.