Contact Tracing

UConn Students Help With COVID-19 Contact Tracing

NBC Universal, Inc.

Slowing the spread of the coronavirus is the goal of hundreds of contact tracers in the state.

They’re also there to help provide support for those who have just tested positive.

And college students are playing a big role.

“It’s really important to connect to people,” said Nathalie Adams, a UConn graduate student.

Adams is among a group of UConn students doing contact tracing in the state, calling those who have recently tested positive for COVID-19.

“When you’re quarantining it can feel lonely at times. So having that contact tracer call you to see how you’re doing and check in, it’s not only the questions that we run through but we’re actually seeing how they’re feeling,” said Adams.

Adams tries to answer any questions the person might have and make sure they’re okay when it comes to food and housing during quarantine.

She also helps figure out who the person might have exposed to the virus and then can call those people too.

“We are there to provide them emotional support as well and connect them to resources in the community,” said Adams.

Right now there are about a dozen UConn students like Adams who are using the contact tracing work for their internship as part of their Master of Social Work.

“I think it’s really important for our interns to understand that there are many ways social work can help,” said Brooke Hopkins, a UConn field instructor.

Across the state up to about 100 college students from various schools join public health staff and volunteers to form a team of more than 800 contact tracers.

The students can help out when an area is seeing a spike in cases.

“When they get ahold of just one person or when they get ahold of a small handful of people and those folks stay home and follow those instructions we’re stopping an infection for hundreds and maybe thousands of others in the state,” said Lora Rae Anderson, the director of communications for the state’s Chief Operating Officer.

Now after the recent birth of her son, Adams is eying a career in pre or postnatal care after graduation.

And she’ll take the lessons she’s learned during this time.

“I look forward to helping people,” said Adams.

The state says it’s really important if a contact tracer calls for you to pick up the phone. And they remind everyone that your information remains private.

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