New COVID-19 contact tracing program launched at Fresno State

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FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) — Fresno County has launched a new COVID-19 contact tracing program for at Fresno State. 

The idea is to expand the contact tracing team and help to stop the spread of the virus. The program is an effort to trace the spread of the coronavirus virus in the community. 

The curriculum is aimed at pinpointing the people and areas that those who test positive for COVID-19 have been in close contact with.

Those taking the course on Tuesday, believe this is an extra tool to help slow the spread of the virus in our community.

“Oh this is a wonderful opportunity,” said Janell Morillo, Associated Vice President for student health counseling and wellness at Fresno State.  

Morillo is one of several people taking part in a two-day contact tracing training course provided by the Fresno County Department of Public Health.

“It helps the whole county, the more people that are informed of the process and can assist the county in terms of being able to reach out to individuals and offer the support that they need and give them that direction it’s just really critical,” she said. 

The health department says this training is a hybrid course, those taking part in it are learning from real cases, while also learning from modules developed by UCLA. 

“They will be just kind of jumping in and helping with the contact tracing for all these new cases being diagnosed so that we can figure out who do we need to put into quarantine, who do we need to recommend to get tested in terms of their household or work-related contacts and what’s the source to see if we can trackback to a potential outbreak,” said Dr. Rais Vohra, interim health officer for the Fresno County Department of Public Health. 

As more places in the county begin to re-open, Fresno County is seeing a spike in positive COVID-19 cases. The health department says having school nurses, faith-based organizations and others apart from the contact tracing team will really benefit the community.

“We want this to be something that serves all of the populations that we need to serve and we feel like the best way to do that is to have contact tracers that understand where people meet, where people greet, where people live, where people work, where they get transported back and forth, and really all the fine details of the way coronavirus can spread,” Vohra said. 

The health department says they are also working with the state on an app that could help with contact tracing as well.

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