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State puts out a hiring call for nurses, contact tracers, data analysts to help with Alaska’s COVID-19 response

  • Author: Annie Berman
  • Updated: December 3, 2020
  • Published December 3, 2020
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As the pandemic continues to grow, the state of Alaska is currently seeking to fill dozens of positions related to its COVID-19 response, including public health nurses, data analysts, administrators and contact tracers.

That’s according to a social media post shared by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services on Thursday announcing the positions, with a link to the state’s website.

“We need smart, committed people who want to help solve a pandemic with us,” said Dr. Anne Zink, the state’s chief medical officer, during a media briefing on Thursday.

“We do need help,” she said.

Alaska’s outreach effort comes in the midst of a surge in coronavirus cases that has in some areas overwhelmed the state’s pandemic response, causing delays in both data reporting and contact tracing as well as staffing shortages in Alaska’s hospitals and health care settings.

Jayme Parker, who works with the Alaska Public Health Laboratories, said during the call that her team is hiring public health microbiologists who can help with COVID-19 testing as well as laboratory technicians.

Many of the new positions are currently listed on Workplace Alaska. They include at least six public health nurse openings, along with many other public health, data entry and administrative positions and one “COVID technician and health associate” listing, which you can apply for “to be considered for a variety of other positions to support program and projects related to the COVID-19 response,” according to the state.

We’re Hiring - Be part of Alaska’s COVID-19 response Do you want to contribute to the health of Alaskans and their...

Posted by Alaska Health and Social Services on Thursday, December 3, 2020

Alaska on Thursday recorded its highest number of cases reported in a single day, and daily counts have averaged in the 500s and 600s for weeks.

Cases identified in recent weeks have exceeded the ability of public health officials to immediately report individual cases, according to a weekly update from the state health department. That data backlog means that the total number of cases reported this week are an undercount of how many cases have actually been identified through testing.

Public health nurses are also crucially responsible for contact tracing, a tool that is considered essential to slowing the spread of the virus.

The state recently issued an alert urging Alaskans who test positive for COVID-19 to notify their own close contacts, explaining that the surge in new cases has continued to strain the state’s ability to make those calls themselves.

More contact tracing positions are available through the University of Alaska Anchorage, which is training and hiring workers, especially those with a background in public health.

The program has a survey for those interested to fill out.

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