What Makes for a Good Contact Tracer?

There seems to be little doubt that good contact tracing is going to be important in helping contain and mitigate the coronavirus. But what makes a good contact tracer?

Duquesne University Professor Kristin D'Acunto is an infectious disease expert who has thoughts on what Pennsylvania and other states should look for as they hire thousands of new contact tracers over the next few weeks. Some qualities at the top of the list: empathy, COVID-19 knowledge and communicating clearly without creating fear.  

Contact tracing has been used for decades to help prevent the spread of infectious diseases, including the flu and HIV. D'Acunto said that contact tracers will be especially important for COVID -19 since some people with coronavirus are asymptomatic and may not know they have the disease.  

She notes that effectively explaining what happens next to a person who was in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 is vital, as contact tracers must avoid instilling fear into an already serious situation.  

As states re-open, there may be spikes in COVID-19 cases in some communities and contact tracers will be essential to locating the disease and educating the public on how to prevent its transmission. Professor D'Acunto can also speak to the importance of the data collected by contact tracers, and its role in re-opening the economy and society.  

Media Contact: Ken Walters 412.417.8156

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 9,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University's academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim. 

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