Northern Essex Students Help Trace and Track Massachusetts COVID-19 Patients

Rosanna Lara of Lawrence is one of nine Northern Essex Community College students volunteering to help slow the spread of COVID-19. (Courtesy photograph.)

Nine Northern Essex Community College Public Health students are helping to track and trace COVID-19 patients with the goal of isolating the infection and stopping the spread of the virus.

The students joining Gov. Charlie Baker’s initiative to address the spread of COVID-19 in Massachusetts are Shaliwa Babirye of Lowell; Victoria Cerasuolo, Wendy Castro and Chelsea St. Jean of Haverhill; Jatnyn Hernandez, Rosanna Lara, Rebecca Shipweya and Silvia Urena Polenco of Lawrence; and Margaret Kamau of North Andover.

After undergoing online training, they are contacting residents who were recently diagnosed with COVID-19 to see where they have been and with whom they have been in contact. Students are deployed in teams to serve all 351 boards of health in Massachusetts. The program is designed in four areas of concentrations, according to Jacqueline Dick, professor and program director of the college’s Public Health Associate Degree and Community Health Certificate programs.

The Academic Public Health Volunteer Corps will contact trace and track patients, coordinate with communities’ public health departments, disseminate information via social media/communications and perform virtual check-ins with patients.

Dick said some of her students lost their internships due to COVID-19, so this is an opportunity for them to complete their mandatory hours not to mention gain valuable public health experience while sharing their own public health knowledge. Partners in Health intends to hire 1,000 paid public health positions in addition to the volunteer corps which will continue. It is hoped some of the NECC students will be considered and transition to employment.

Comments are closed.