UH Campus

In efforts to track more COVID-19 cases in the state, the Department of Health and the University of Hawai'i announced a new partnership for a contact tracing program.

According to the DOH, "Health experts say extensive contact tracing is a key component to prevent the spread of the virus while relaxing stay-at-home-orders and restarting Hawai‘i’s economy."

“This has been a brainchild of State Epidemiologist Dr. Sarah Park and UH’s own Dr. Aimee Grace, who leads our UHealthy Hawaii Initiative at the UH System,” UH President David Lassner said at a press conference with Gov. David Ige. “We believe that these programs to expand the number of contract tracers and community health workers will really help protect all of Hawai'iʻs communities,”

The plan for the program is to train around 300 contact tracers. UH will offer two tracks for the program:

  • A two to three day training program for clinical professionals (with at least an undergraduate degree and a clinical health background)
  • A two to three month program for those with undergraduate degrees, health sciences preferred.

All of the training materials will be approved by the DOH.

UH also wants to increase its capacity to prepare 100 community health workers each year.

After the program, the DOH can then activate the trained individuals as needed, including emergency hires—that is if there is a surge in COVID-19 cases in the state.

“With 300 staff to extend the capacity for monitoring and investigation, we expect to build the capacity up to at least 1,000 cases a day,” DOH Director Bruce Anderson said. “Hopefully, we will not be approaching anything close to that, but we are planning for the worst and building up our capacity, accordingly.”

Anyone interested in the contact tracing or community health worker training can contact covid19@hawaii.edu.

Editor in Chief

Chavonnie Ramos has served as the Editor in Chief of Ka Leo since January 2019, and has been with student media since 2016. She is a senior majoring in Journalism and English at the University of Hawai'i at Mānoa.