PENDER COUNTY, N.C. (WECT) – Pender County has seen a significant increase of COVID-19 cases.
“We have doubled in numbers every week for, like, the past three weeks, so the stack of cases is very big,” said communicable disease nurse Casey LaFleur.
With public schools starting in less than a week, the county’s health department is hoping to increase its staff.
“Every county in the state received $115,000 for a public health nurse position that could liaison with the school system,” said Pender County Health and Human Services director Carolyn Moser.
The staffer would help ease the workload for school nurses and allow them to focus on other students’ medical needs.
The liaison would work with children diagnosed with COVID-19 and others.
“Identify those who may have been exposed to this individual, working out the testing, the contract tracing,” said Moser.
But like many industries hit hard during the pandemic, there is a shortage of nurses. Until the health department can find a registered nurse to fill the new job, the position will remain vacant.
“I don’t see us trying to use someone in our health department in that position for right now,” said Moser. “We just can’t afford to make that shift.”
The surge of COVID-19 cases in the county is keeping all of the health department nurses busy around the clock.
“A lot of our nurses who are in other roles are currently being pulled to help with COVID,” said LaFleur. “I probably had 200 new cases on my desk yesterday morning so yeah, it’s crazy. It’s crazy.”
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