A five-hour online course created by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health could become the backbone of the country’s contact tracer training program.
The class, which rolled out Monday, offers online instruction to anyone who wants to learn the basics of contact tracing: the process of identifying and isolating people who have been infected with COVID-19 and their close contacts. Its goal is to help limit the spread of the new coronavirus.
A robust contact tracing program is key to reopening the country, experts say. “Contact tracing breaks the chain of transmission of the virus,” Dr. Kelly Henning, an epidemiologist and director of Bloomberg Philanthropies Public Health program, told ABC News.
When a contact is unaware that they’ve been in touch with someone, or been close to someone who was a case, they go about their usual business and they infect people all along the way,” Henning said.
To stop the cycle of infection, tracers need to very quickly inform contacts that they’ve potentially been exposed to the virus, Henning explained. They also need to convince those exposed contacts to agree to stay at home, indoors, for 14 days.
“Then we break that chain of transmission,” Henning said.
The course, which is free and open to anyone who wants to take it, will serve as a pre-requisite for becoming a contact tracer in New York state. Those who want to secure a contact tracer job in New York must first pass the course’s online exam.
Taught by Emily Gurley, an associate scientist at Johns Hopkins, the course will cover the science of COVID-19 and the basics of contact tracing, including how to build rapport with the COVID-19 infected individuals and their contacts.
From ABC News
Photo – Emily Gurley, Johns Hopkins