UH announced that the Hawai‘i State Department of Health and University of Hawaiʻi system Contact Tracing Training Program (DOH-UH) has begun today, Monday, June 8. The online day-and-a-half training will start with a group of 16 clinical healthcare professional trainees.
“As the state of Hawaiʻi reopens, we need to be prepared for any potential increase of COVID-19 cases by ensuring that we have trained contact tracers who can quickly identify and facilitate isolating those who are sick and/or exposed to someone with COVID-19,” U.S. State Senator Brian Schatz said.
By mid-July, the program expects to have trained 320 contact tracers with hundreds more as the year progresses. There is a waiting list for participants and all clinical healthcare professional slots have been occupied.
The federally funded program exists to support healthcare workers of Hawai‘i in the occurrence of a surge of COVID-19 cases as the state reopens and resumes its normal activities.
There are two types of contact tracing training, both of which require an undergraduate degree. One is for clinical healthcare professionals and the other is for those with no clinical health experience.
Track 1 for clinical healthcare professionals is an accelerated day-and-a-half training course which was developed by the UH Mānoa School of Nursing and Dental Hygiene in conjunction with the Department of Health. Track 2 is conducted by UH West O‘ahu.
The DOH-UH Contact Tracing Program will also be training Community Health Workers in the fall through UH Community Colleges, led by Kapi‘olani Community College. CHWs will work with contact tracers to prevent and manage disease outbreaks in high-risk communities.
There will be a volunteer pool called the DOHʻs Medical Reserve Corp for those who complete the contact tracing training program. Should there be a surge in COVID-19 cases that extends beyond the DOHʻs contact tracing abilities, volunteers may be asked to work as contact tracers for the state; however, completing the program does not guarantee employment.
UH program lead and director of the UHealthy Hawai‘i Initiative Aimee Grace expressed her gratitude for the positive feedback of the program thus far.
“We’re really grateful to be part of a community that rallies so much to help the state in the face of COVID-19,” Grace said.
While Track 1 training is at its maximum capacity, Track 2 and CHW training is still open for applications. CHW training is open to those with a GED or high school degree.