Cook County Health to add 466 positions for contact tracing, social distancing

Cook County Health, Chicago’s public healthcare system, expects to add 466 new positions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a spokesperson.

Budget documents shared with Becker’s Hospital Review show most of the new positions (374) are at the Cook County Department of Public Health for contact tracing and the rest are to accommodate social distancing at the Cook County Jail. 

The contact tracing and jail positions are both part of Cook County Health’s budget plan for fiscal year 2021, which begins Dec. 1.

As part of budget planning, the healthcare system is investing to continue to address issues related to the pandemic, Caryn Stancik told Becker’s Hospital Review.

Cook County Health’s plans also include filling a $187 million budget shortfall for fiscal year 2021 through 130 layoffs, outpatient clinic consolidation and reduced reliance on contract workers.  

The healthcare system includes two hospitals, a network of more than a dozen community health centers, the Cook County Department of Public Health, Correctional Health Services, and a Medicaid managed care health plan for Cook County residents. It also includes the Ruth M. Rothstein CORE Center and a Medicare Advantage plan. 

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