A member of Wisconsin’s congressional delegation is urging state officials in Madison to hire additional contact tracers, as public health agencies struggle to keep up with an explosion of new coronavirus cases in the state.
Second District Congressman Mark Pocan said Thursday that Wisconsin is in a dire situation with the COVID-19 pandemic, and that a lack of contact tracers has a lot to do with that.
“We have to do more on contact tracing, and we have to do more ten weeks ago, but I’ll take today,” Pocan said during a Zoom call with reporters. “They’ve been talking about it for weeks. That is weeks too late. We need to get this need to get this done, if we’re ever going to address the numbers we have in the state. Honestly we just need more urgency, period.”
As of yesterday, Wisconsin had 254 full-time contact tracers hired at the state level.
894 full-time at the local level.
1,148 full-time contact tracers in total.
Modeling shows we need 6,000-31,000.
Meanwhile, we have 75,580 active COVID cases.
We’re not doing enough.
— Rep. Mark Pocan (@repmarkpocan) November 20, 2020
Pocan’s comments came as Democratic Governor Tony Evers and Republican legislative leaders announced that they would meet for the first time in months, to discuss a pandemic response strategy.
The Democrat expressed frustration with those legislative leaders — and the Evers’ administration
“Governor Evers is one of the most decent people I know and have ever known in politics. I think there are people around him who are not doing him favors,” Pocan said. “I think that they are not accomplishing as much as they could, given how bad the legislature has been.”
The contact tracers’ job is to quickly notify close contacts of those who test positive, so that those people can quarantine and break the chain of transmission. Pocan himself quarantined after learning his mother tested positive for COVID-19. He tested negative last Friday and is to receive a second test Friday.