Implementation and Process of a COVID-19 Contact Tracing Initiative: Leveraging Health Professional Students to Extend the Workforce During a Pandemic

Paige Koetter, Matthew Pelton, Jed Gonzalo, Ping Du, Cara Exten, Kaleb Bogale, Lindsay Buzzelli, Mary Connolly, Katelyn Edel, Amy Hoffman, Nicole R. Legro, Daniela Medina, Natasha Sood, Joshua Blaker, Kalen Kearcher, Christopher Sciamanna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends aggressive contact tracing to control the COVID-19 pandemic. In this work, we (1) describe the development of a COVID-19 contact tracing initiative that includes medical, nursing, and public health students, and is led by clinicians and infectious disease epidemiologists within our health system, and, (2) articulate process steps for contact tracing including workflows and telephone scripts, and, (3) highlight the key challenges and strategies to overcome these challenges. Methods: A single academic institution-based contact tracing initiative was rapidly scaled to 110 health professional students, four physicians, two epidemiologists, and a research team. Following training, students called patients who were COVID-19 positive and the individuals they were in contact with to ensure proper isolation and quarantine measures. Students also assisted those who faced barriers to quarantine. Implications: In total, between March 24 and May 28 – this initiative completed contact tracing for 536 confirmed cases, which resulted in the identification of 953 contacts. We aim to disseminate this process, including telephone scripts and workflow, to other health systems for use in their initiatives to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic and future public health emergencies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1451-1456
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican journal of infection control
Volume48
Issue number12
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Epidemiology
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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