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High demand in contact tracers give students an opportunity

COVID-19

With people still testing positive across the state, contact tracers have a major role in the fight against COVID-19.

We find out how essential workers are not only public health professionals— but some are even college students.

During this pandemic public health professionals have been playing various roles, from testing people, to staying up to date on CDC guidelines and also tracing where someone may have contracted the virus.

“Increasing our number of tests within our state accompanied with increasing contact tracing is key to checking our state’s progress against COVID-19,” shares Gino Jose, regional field epidemiologist for the North Dakota Department of Health.

Contact tracers play a key role in reaching out to people who may have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus.

“48 hours will be the time within you collect the data of who they around, what places they’ve been so you can best paint a picture of what type of spread could’ve happened during that time line of infection,” shares Jose.

As positive cases continue to roll in, the demand for contact tracers is on the rise.

Students over at North Dakota State University who are studying to go into public health are now teaming up with the state to lend a hand.

“But the crash course has actually been in conjunction with the state health department. They put together probably originally about 10 modules of you know what COVID-19 is, how the transmission works, the kind of questions you need to provide people when you are talking to them,” shares Dr. Pamela Jo Johnson, the NDSU Public Health Department Chair.

Even though the contact tracing is done over the phone it’s giving students that real world experience that they probably wouldn’t receive until after they graduate.

“Since we’re bringing public health into the public eye I should say, it’s great. And this experience will only help me in future jobs. Because of the jobs want experience. So now I’m getting it,” shares Sarmed Lafta, a NDSU Student.

The NDSU Contact tracers are in charge of out jurisdiction tracing. Meaning anybody who comes from out of state that has been in contact with someone who tested positive.

The university will soon be offering students in their other medical-related fields of study the opportunity to go through the training.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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