A Survey of County Health Departments of Kansas Regarding COVID-19

  • Talkad S. Raghuveer, M.D.
  • Rosey E. Zackula, M.A.
  • Robert R. Wittler, M.D.
Keywords: COVID-19, public health, health guidelines, Kansas

Abstract

Introduction. SARS-CoV-2 virus (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2) causing COVID-19 (Coronavirus Disease 2019) initially was identified in China in December 2019. It has resulted in a pandemic with increasing spread of the virus in the US. The county health departments around US are spearheading the response to contain the spread of this virus.

Methods. This project was a survey of county health departments in the state of Kansas with data collection period from 4/15 to 4/24/2020. This study evaluated the staffing, resources, and funding of these health departments and how it was affecting the efforts to contain COVID-19. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize the responses.

Results. A total of 75% of the county health departments in Kansas responded to the survey. In 89% of locations, the staffing had not increased. Most health departments had an average of five people and the four largest ones had 30 to 98 staff working on COVID-19. Most locations used the Kansas Department of Health and Environment criteria for testing and used a combination of state or private laboratories. The results of the tests were available three days or longer in 62% and after five days in 14% of sites. All locations were active in contact tracing, but most had 1-3 people for this purpose and in 90% the contact tracing interview was via phone calls. There was no change in funding in 21% and decreased funding in 8.5% of health departments. Most locations had an average of five nasopharyngeal swabs on the day of the survey. The most common needs expressed were help to increase testing capability, more public education, more personal protective equipment, increased personnel, and assistance with contract tracing.

Conclusions. There is an urgent need in Kansas to increase support to county health departments for testing capability, personal protective equipment, increased number of staff, increased help with contact tracing, and especially increase support for public education.

Published
2020-05-21
Section
Original Research