Miami University renews contract for contact tracing


Miami and the Butler County General Health District (BCGHD) reentered a contract that allows Miami to contact trace for BCGHD. The six-month contract began Sept. 20 and will run through Feb. 28, 2022. 

Under the agreement, contact tracers employed by Miami can act on behalf of the health district and issue quarantine orders. According to Kendall Leser, director of Miami’s public health program, Miami will do contact tracing for the 45056 zip code and people ages 3-18 living in Butler County. Miami is also responsible for disease investigation and data entry into Ohio’s disease registry. This renewal gives Miami $196,192 to support the wages of the contact tracing team and cover technology costs. 

“There are several benefits to this contract, including being able to quickly isolate Butler County residents,” said Leser. “The zip code 45056 was downgraded from high to substantial transmission last week, and we believe our efficient contact tracing program is a contributor to this win.” 

The previous Miami-BCGHD contract expired July 30, but wasn’t renewed until the end of September. During this period, funding tied to contact tracing at the state level was tied to the health department working with the company Public Consulting Group (PCG). According to Leser, failure to use PCG meant the department wouldn’t receive funding. As the Delta variant surged, however, restrictions were lifted and the health department was able to use Miami for contact tracing again.

Leser said partnering with BCGHD makes the quarantine process more straightforward for Miami students, who don’t have to wait as long to receive official isolation orders. Another benefit, she said, is that students are offered paid, applied learning experiences to help do the contact tracing.