Johns Hopkins releases online coronavirus contact tracing course

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Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health released a free, online course Monday on contact tracing to train new hires across New York state.

The five-hour “COVID-19 Contact Tracing” course demonstrates the critical need for contact tracers in slowing the spread of the novel coronavirus.

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Participants will learn the science of SARS-CoV-2 and how to interview those diagnosed with coronavirus, determine close contacts who may have been exposed to the virus and offer advice and support for self-quarantine.

By successfully convincing a close contact to quarantine, contact tracers help break the chain of transmission behind the virus, officials say.

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Last month, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a tri-state contact tracing program with the financial backing of Michael Bloomberg, former New York City mayor and ex-Democratic 2020 presidential candidate. The program will include a baseline of 30 contact tracers for every 100,000 people, gearing up tracers in proportion to regions’ coronavirus cases.

The program is expected to have 6,400 to 17,000 tracers statewide depending on the projected number of cases, as written on the state’s official webpage.

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The Johns Hopkins course will be a pre-requisite to become a contact tracer in New York. The course is available for registration on the Coursera platform, which reveals 35,236 participants have already enrolled.

Aside from contact tracing, graduates of the course can expect to gain skills in ethics, active listening, public health and epidemiology.