Maryland Department of Health
Helping Families in Need
“I thought to myself, could this be so big that we could be shutting down? Like the rest of the country and the world, I was in fear of losing a lot. So I started learning all that I could about contact tracing – and thought this is how I can still help people.”
Contact tracing is a new career for Kimberly Ryan. She has been the lead contact tracer for Calvert County since July 2020. She considers herself a guide to help people through a very difficult time.
“We are trying to help people and prevent them from getting sick. We are trying to help people manage their families and navigate through this very difficult time when people don’t feel well. We may be that link between them and picking up the phone and calling their physicians, Kimberly said. If we can help one person out of the ten we call, then that’s great.”
For one local couple, Kimberly became very important in their lives. They had their spring wedding coming up but were reluctant to get vaccinated. “They both went to get vaccinated after the informative email I sent. They replied a day later and said, “we’re going to do it, can you set us up?”. I found a mobile vaccination clinic that made it super convenient, reached out to the nursing team that was working at the clinic that day and set up an appointment for them.”
Another local community member Kimberly remembers was a pregnant mother who was at 38 weeks. “She picked up the phone and called because she was positive for COVID, and was absolutely distraught. When she called her OBGYN to tell them, they said that she could not deliver at the hospital or come to the office for 90 days,” Kimberly said. “My boss and I decided to follow up with the clinic to ensure there was no misinformation given, and they let us know she could call the office back and schedule an appointment that day.”
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a contact tracer for Kimberly is being able to help families in need and prevent COVID from spreading.
Kimberly hopes that contact tracing will continue to be a positive tool for community health. “I’ve seen how it works and how far it’s come. I’m optimistic about this process and how it helps to prevent hospitalization and death,” she said.