More than 150 volunteers from throughout West Virginia have now completed Contact Tracing and Pandemic Response, a training developed by the West Virginia University School of Public Health and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources Bureau for Public Health in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Initially launched in May, this course aimed to build a ready pool of public health investigators in West Virginia to support local health officials throughout the current public health crisis.
“Given the urgent need to develop and then deploy this training, I am thrilled, though not altogether surprised, that so many people stepped up to serve their communities in this very difficult time," said course director Dr. Chris Martin. "Truly, their overwhelming response to help has been inspirational.”
Representing a wide range of professional backgrounds and fluency in eight different languages, volunteers who have completed the training are now able to assist health officials with contact tracing, testing event logistics, and frontline communications and support.
“These volunteers are an invaluable source of information related to COVID-19 and can be a ready line of defense for what might otherwise be an overwhelming cluster of infection in any one of our communities,” Martin said.
Didactic modules of the course included Basics of Infectious Disease Epidemiology with Reference to COVID-19; General Overview of COVID-19 Testing; Infection Control Measures for COVID-19; Public Health Surveillance; Motivational Interviewing; Confidentiality; and practical training in contact tracing using standardized methods developed by DHHR’s Bureau for Public Health.
The final offering of the course will close in mid-July, when another 60-70 volunteers are expected to complete the training.
For more information on volunteer placement, contact Joanna DiStefano at Joanna.DiStefano@hsc.wvu.edu.