On the front lines fighting the coronavirus: I took a COVID-19 contact tracing course

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
c c b a f acc b c hfr vpc k coronavirus deaths desk thumb
Credit: USA Today

In the Before Times, there were only about 2,200 contact tracers for the whole US, according to the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. They would help squelch periodic flareups of tuberculosis, HIV, syphilis, and other dangerous diseases. Now they’re all working around the clock on Covid-19. Public health experts estimate we need 100,000 to 200,000 more to safely reopen American society.

I wanted to know what it takes to become one of them. So on [May 11], when the nation’s first online course in coronavirus contact tracing went live, I signed up and dove in.

Every day, hospitals and clinics report any new positive tests to their local public health department. Teams of tracers work their way through these lists in shifts. They’ll try the phone number listed on that person’s health records first. If that doesn’t work, they can get more creative—looking at lab reports or in other databases available to the health department. Sometimes, the tracers are the first ones to let people know they’ve tested positive, so they usually spend some time answering questions and checking in on their symptoms.

Related article:  Crisis on the horizon? Nothing limits virus vaccine makers from charging exorbitant fees

Contact tracers might be working the phones from home, but they really are on the front lines. If you’re interested in becoming a contact tracer for your area, or just want to know more about the process, you can take the Johns Hopkins course here.

Read the original post

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
GLP Podcasts
Infographic: Trending green and going great — Every state in the US seeing decreased cases of COVID

Infographic: Trending green and going great — Every state in the US seeing decreased cases of COVID

The U.S. averaged fewer than 40,000 new cases per day over the past week. That’s a 21% improvement over the ...
a bee covered in pollen x

Are GMOs and pesticides threatening bees?

First introduced in 1995, neonicotinoids ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
glp menu logo outlined

Newsletter Subscription

* indicates required
Email Lists