BALTIMORE - The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has launched a free online course to train contact tracers in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Contact tracing is a proven public health strategy to prevent the spread of infectious diseases,” said Kelly Larson with Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Contract tracers interview someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to identify anyone they’ve been in close contact with. They then notify each contact about their possible exposure and ask them to self-quarantine and closely monitor any symptoms.
The online program to train people can be taken by anyone, anywhere in the U.S.
It takes six hours to complete the course with a knowledge assessment at the end.
Larson says it trains people on several concepts:
- What are infectious diseases?
- How is COVID-19 transmitted?
- What are some privacy and confidentiality concerns with contact tracing?
- What’s the process for identifying people who are positive?
- How should you reach out to people who may have been exposed?
Contact tracers in New York State are required to go through the course, and Larson says some other cities and states are starting to do the same.
Larson says there’s a need for potentially 100,000+ contact tracers to be hired in the U.S.
“This will be the next step from sheltering-in-place to allowing us to slowly get back and opening up the economy, but we need to do that safely and so contact tracing will allow us to do that,” said Larson.
More than 70,000 people around the country have enrolled in the course.
You can sign up by clicking here.