GLOUCESTER — Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll wish to thank the City of Gloucester’s team of public health nurses in observance of National Nurses Week.
“Our City’s response to this pandemic has been comprehensive and tireless, and our public health nurses have performed above and beyond throughout this situation, doing everything they can to stop this virus from spreading and help people quarantine and self isolate,” Mayor Romeo Theken said. “We’re very thankful for everything they have done and continue to do.”
National Nurses Week runs from May 6-12 in honor of Florence Nightingale, whose birthday marks the end of the event. In light of the ongoing public health crisis, City officials wish to recognize the exemplary efforts of nurses who are working to prevent the spread of the virus in the community.
“Our team of public health nurses have been invaluable as the City has worked to address COVID-19, track the spread of this virus in our community and ensure those with the virus or potentially exposed have the resources they need while they either quarantine or self-isolate,” Carroll said. “I’d like to thank each of them for their dedication to helping our City through this unprecedented situation.”
Gloucester’s Public Health Nurse Kelley Hilland has been joined by several temporary staff brought on by the City and Gloucester Public School nurses to assist with contact tracing efforts. These nurses include: Sally Ann Rich, Eileen Matz, Cindy Juncker, Leora Ulrich, Jeffrey Parco, Janet Dickinson, Bridget Nelligan, Szilvia Vanderberg, Karen Huie and Kim Cameron. Diana Edgar-Moloney, Vanessa Doucette and Salam Madi from the City’s Pediatric Dental Center are also assisting with contact tracing.
“Our school nurses have gone from caring for our school children to caring for our entire city,” said Contact Tracing Team Coordinator Carol Mondello. “We discuss daily how we can help patients, family members and workplaces recover from this terrible virus. This includes making sure that people have the supplies they need to be in quarantine and ensuring that they understand quarantine or isolation protocols. Gloucester wouldn’t be in the position we are without these dedicated men and women, and we will forever be grateful.”
When a person tests positive for COVID-19, contact tracers will reach out to them by phone and interview them to identify individuals they have come in close contact with. Public health officials will also contact those individuals in an effort to slow the spread of the virus.
During these calls, contact tracers are also tasked with ensuring that people’s medical needs are being met and that they and their family are supported while in quarantine or self-isolation.
Contact tracing has become a key task undertaken by public health nurses throughout the state.
Residents will either receive a call directly from a city nurse or the state COVID-19 team, whom the City recently started partnering with on its contact tracing work. Local and state public health officials are urging residents to participate in contact tracing, should they receive a call, to slow the spread of COVID-19. Information shared during the call is strictly confidential and is treated as private medical information. To learn more about the state’s community tracing collaborative, click here.
As of Wednesday, May 6, Gloucester’s team of public health nurses have conducted contact tracing for 187 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak. The team has also assisted other communities in their contact tracing efforts.
For more information about National Nurses Week, visit the American Nurses Association (ANA) website here.