As DeWitt and Piatt Counties experience a surge in COVID cases in line with the rest of the state, the Director of the local health department recently discussed everything that goes into collecting data and then condensing what can be released to the public and why it takes so much time.
According to Dave Remmert, Director of the DeWitt/Piatt Bi-County Health Department, they are becoming extraordinarily overwhelmed by the amount of contact tracing having to take place over the recent spike in cases and that is leaving both he and his staff with little time to collect data to consistently release to the public.
The health department in recent months has hired multiple full-time employees to help with the backlog of contact tracing needing to be done. Remmert indicates messaging in their releases is not changing and questions why the public needs to know the exact numbers on a daily basis.
Additionally, Remmert points out, they not only have very little time to constantly prepare the reports, but they also must gather data from several different databases and then break down the information further. He asks for the public to be patient.
Remmert, who spent many years in Champaign-Urbana, compares resources of larger area health departments with public relations coordinators and epidemiologists and a much greater staff. He says their staff is already a bare-bones staff, further, Piatt County is considering cutting funding to the health department.