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WTIP talks with COVID contact tracers working in Cook County

Cook County logo. WTIP file photo
Cook County logo. WTIP file photo

Cook County hired a public health educator in June to continue the local effort to prepare for, and contain the spread of COVID-19 in the community. Hired for this new position in local government was longtime Cook County resident Kristin DeArruda Wharton.

During a meeting of the Cook County Board of Commissioners Oct. 27, Public Health Supervisor Grace Grinager announced that DeArruda Wharton submitted her resignation to the county to take another job in healthcare in Minnesota. Her last day will be Dec. 1. Interviews will take place in early November to hire the next public health educator and lead case investigator for COVID-19 in Cook County.

With regard to the job as the public health educator in Cook County, a primary focus for this pertaining to the new coronavirus involves contact tracing. According to the CDC, contact tracers locate and talk with COVID-19 patients, assist in arranging for patients to isolate themselves and work with patients to identify people with whom the patients have been in close contact so the contact tracer can locate them.

Since the hiring of DeArruda Wharton, the county has added two more people to assist with contact tracing in Cook County. They are local residents Maggie Farchmin and Andrea Tofte.

In recent weeks the amount of contact tracing in Cook County increased significantly as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 goes up.

WTIP spoke to all three of the contact tracers in Cook County to share their voices on the airwaves. The purpose of these interviews was to learn more about contact tracing in Cook County, but also so local residents are familiar with the voices of those who are making the phone calls. Below are the interviews with all three people doing contact tracing in Cook County.

Note: When someone is hired to replace DeArruda Wharton, WTIP will add supplemental audio to this story, as well as an interview specific to the hiring of the next public health educator in Cook County.