HURON, S.D. (KELO) – It’s been seven months since the first reported case of COVID-19 in South Dakota. Every county and town has felt the virus’ impact, but Beadle County was one of the first to get hit hard. They’ve had to adapt their response to COVID-19 in various ways, including at their call center.
Heidi Maas is a full-time mechanic for the post office in Huron — but in March she took on an important role for Beadle County as they responded to COVID-19.
“The Huron Chamber and Visitor’s Bureau put out an email when we shut down, back in March, April, for volunteers and I thought maybe it would be delivering meals to somebody that was sick or something like that. I never would’ve thought that it would turn in to the call center that we have today,” call center employee Heidi Maas said.
Maas says the Beadle County COVID-19 call center averages around 75 calls a day from people with questions about the virus or from people who are sick. Recently, though, they’ve also taken on the task of contact tracing for Huron.
“Monday’s, Tuesday’s and Friday’s are our busiest days and we can see an influx of over 100 calls,” Maas said.
Starting Sunday, they will begin contact tracing for all of Beadle County and the surrounding areas.
“We do believe that that’s going to bump up our workload quite a bit. They have found four more part-time employees to help us with all of the contact tracing,” Maas said.
Maas says right now there is one full-time employee and two part-time employees at the call center.
“Not only am I proud because I live here, but proud of the way that our task force started, when they started the task force and they jumped on top of it and just how they have continued to grow and change with the times that are changing,” Maas said.