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University of Utah Division of Public Health Partners with UDOH to Trace COVID-19 Contacts


The Division of Public Health at the University of Utah announce a partnership with the Utah Department of Health to train and field more than 100 contact tracers in the ongoing pandemic response efforts. These workers will join the state's effort to conduct contact tracing for those who test positive for COVID-19, giving the state a greater ability to test those who may have been exposed to the virus.

"As we start to open society and get back out there, we are seeing more cases and a lot more contacts—so even while many people may feel that we're on the downslope of this, the epidemiological work is on the upswing," said Sharon Talboys, Ph.D., M.P.H., assistant professor of public health and director of the project. "With this program we're filling a big need and are proud to be part of that effort."

Those hired to the program will receive training in Utah state- and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-approved measures for contract tracers. The program has begun recruitment and training and these contact tracers have begun to be deployed in these efforts.

"Testing, contact tracing, and monitoring those who have had contact with someone who has the SARS-CoV-2 virus is a key element of keeping our state safe," said Kimberley Shoaf, Dr.P.H., M.P.H., a professor of public health who specializes in public health emergencies and is co-directing the project with Talboys. "To do this well, we need a cadre of well-trained individuals who can communicate with the public and maintain the confidentiality of the information they receive."

Public health is part of the Department of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine. It is one of the oldest stand-alone accredited programs in Public Health in the country. The twenty-one full-time faculty in the division conduct vital public health research and train approximately 200 graduate students in public health.

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