State Seeking Contact Tracers as COVID-19 Cases Climb

June 29, 2020, 6:00 AM HST (Updated June 28, 2020, 10:19 PM)
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PC: UH Manoa

The University of Hawai‘i, in a partnership with the state Department of Health, recently developed a training program for COVID-19 contact tracers. As island economies reopen and the daily virus counts steadily rise, the program is seeking more qualified applicants to fill the anticipated need.

Ideal candidates have clinical healthcare backgrounds and a minimum education consisting of an undergraduate degree. They must also be available for activation by DOH as full-time contact tracers for up to three months in the near future, a UH press release said. A smaller number of applicants able to serve part-time — at least 20 hours per week — will be considered.

These contact tracers will provide the supplemental workforce capacity to identify and facilitate isolating individuals who are sick or have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Those interested may sign up online.

“Given the state’s reopening and rise in COVID-19 cases, our partnership will serve DOH and the people of Hawaiʻi by providing the needed contact tracing training programs,” said Aimee Grace, UH program lead and director of the UHealthy Hawaiʻi Initiative. “We are now specifically seeking clinical healthcare professionals who are available to be activated by DOH full-time as contact tracers.”

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The UH-DOH program has reopened registration for Track 1: Contact Tracing Training for Clinical Healthcare Professionals to meet this urgent need. The free, accelerated, one-and-a-half-day online training course is open to the following:

  • Registered nurses
  • Nurse practitioners
  • Social workers
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians
  • Physician assistants
  • Emergency medical technicians (EMTs)
  • Paramedics

While UH is providing the contact tracing training as part of the partnership, DOH will activate and manage any needed contact tracers. Once training has been completed, the contact tracers will be activated as needed for a short-term period of up to three months, the University said.

Track 1 training is being administered by UH Mānoa’s School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene (SONDH) and has been developed jointly with DOH.

Signups are ongoing for two other training arms that are also part of the UH-DOH program:

  • Track 2: Community Contact Tracer Training — A six-week training program for those with undergraduate degrees but who do not have clinical backgrounds, and are available for full-time activation by DOH after program completion.
  • Community Health Worker Training — Requires a high school degree or GED.

View the flyer for more information about any of these programs and sign up online. For specific questions, email [email protected].

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