State Workers Reporting Burnout as Pandemic Wears On

State Workers Reporting Burnout as Pandemic Wears On Click to Enlarge Photo: Unsplash

(KNSI) - With testing numbers into the thousands each day and contact tracing a constant duty, workers at the Minnesota Department of Health say the magnitude of the COVID-19 pandemic is being felt.

Epidemiologist Maureen Leeds says from adapting to new technology on the fly and guidelines constantly changing; burnout is real.

"The interviewers are dealing with the same sort of sense of burnout that, you know, we've been doing this constantly since March. And the press of our other responsibilities is also starting to be felt more."

Leeds says her department is finding ways to overcome the obstacles, and credits staff from other divisions pitching in. She does warn that money will soon run out for a broader contact tracing network, and the MDH asked the Legislature recently for $35 million to hire more outside vendors.

Leeds says there is a concern of even more worker burnout with the collision of influenza and the COVID-19 pandemic.

"If we can decrease the instance of flu, then there hopefully will be less confusion with cases of COVID-19, but I can definitely see how that's going to be a problem this fall."

State health leaders say residents have largely adhered to guidelines in stores and other public places, but social gatherings have been more lax. They say that could keep Minnesota's case activity on the rise as the cold season approaches.