On Tuesday, July 14, 2020, Waukesha County and Carroll University announced a partnership that will enhance efforts to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus through the implementation of the Contact Investigator Training Badge program. The new program, administered by Carroll University, is a curriculum that will significantly increase the number of active contact investigators in Waukesha County and allow staff who have been aiding in contact tracing efforts to return to normal duties.
“Contact tracing is one of Public Health’s oldest and most effective tools to stop the spread of disease,” said Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow. “This partnership will help us enhance those efforts significantly as we work to protect our communities from the COVID-19 virus.”
In May, Carroll University reached out to Waukesha County with the idea to create a contact investigator curriculum for use by the county. The new training opportunity would allow Public Health staff to release the time and task of training new hires to concentrate on the work of contact tracing.
“At Carroll University, we are continually exploring innovative ways to rapidly respond to the needs of our community and our business partners,” said Carroll President Cindy Gnadinger. “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for contact tracers nationwide is extremely high, and we saw this as an opportunity to work with Waukesha County to serve our community and train individuals in an emerging area.”
The Contact Investigator Training Badge curriculum will train individuals to understand strategies to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus: components of contact investigation; requirements for protecting health information and contact investigations protocols; application of protocols to realistic scenarios; jurisdiction-specific contact investigation tools; and continuous quality improvement practices. The first training began this week. Members of the public who have interest in applying for a Contact Investigator position should go to: www.waukeshacounty.gov/jobs.
Contact tracing is one of the key control approaches to communicable diseases. The objective is to contact individuals with confirmed cases of the virus within 24 hours to identify, or trace, individuals the confirmed positive case has been in recent close contact with. Those identified individuals are then contacted (goal of 24 hours) to discuss their potential exposure and initiate proper precautions including quarantining to slow the spread of the disease. More information is available here. More information about Waukesha County’s response to COVID-19 is available at www.waukeshacounty.gov/covid19.