Staffers Work Toward Preventing On-Campus COVID-19 Transmission with Contact Tracing Course

As the coronavirus remains a health crisis in the U.S., a team of Coahoma Community College staff members is preventing transmissions within the campus community through the completion of an online COVID-19 contact tracing course.

Staffers Work Toward Preventing On-Campus COVID-19 Transmission with Contact Tracing Course

Press Release from Coahoma Community College Public Relations; (662) 621-4057 - Melody Dixon

-

Thu Aug 6, 2020

As the coronavirus remains a health crisis in the U.S., a team of Coahoma Community College staff members is preventing transmissions within the campus community through the completion of an online COVID-19 contact tracing course.

According to Educational Outreach Director Letha Richards, who has completed the online course offered by Johns Hopkins University, the factors involved in the COVID-19 contact tracing process consists of identifying the person with the COVID-19 case, then identifying those who may have had:

(1) physical contact

(2) those who came into close contact of 6 feet with the case, and

(3) those who were more than 6 feet away and in the same room as the infected person for an extended period of time and working with them to stop further spread. 

"One thing to note is that for people with the COVID-19 disease, the infectious period begins two days before the start of signs and symptoms of the disease," said Richards.

"The first couple of days are key because a person with COVID–19 will infect 2 to 3 people, and this can create a tsunami of cases like what we are now seeing."

In the course led by an associate scientist in the university's Epidemiology department, Richards was enlightened on how the coronaviruses work, how they are transmitted from person to person, and conducting an effective contact tracing session with the person who primarily caused the spread. She has some background in public health and has taught biology.

"One thing to note is that for people with the COVID-19 disease, the infectious period begins two days before the start of signs and symptoms of disease. So, if a person first notices their symptoms on August 1, that person was infectious two days prior and can infect two to three more people, and they will infect two to three more people, and so on. That is why it is so important to contact trace," said Richards.

The class teaches on isolation and quarantine, potential boundaries to intervention, and how to resolve such situations, the signs, and symptoms of the virus, and establishing rapport with cases. It also uses examples to teach the ethical principles surrounding contact tracing.

Additionally, the epidemic's need for contact tracers has created job positions with a high school diploma or an equivalent level of education.

Other team members charged with learning contact tracing include Karen Done, director of Student Engagement; Karmesha Duke, the campus nurse; Beverly Overton, dean of Health Sciences; and the director of Institutional Research, Margaret Dixon.

"I knew that if I were going to be a person responsible for keeping the campus safe, I needed to learn as much as possible as fast as possible," said Richards, who enjoyed gaining insight into the contagious disease.

The course offers certification upon completion.

If you have any concerns regarding advised safety measures for in-person learning during the upcoming fall semester, refer to Coahoma's coronavirus webpage: http://www.coahomacc.edu/coronavirus/index.