Contact Tracing

UC Irvine Helping Teach Community-Centric Contact Tracing Method in Orange County

As of Tuesday, according to county health officials, nearly 42% of all coronavirus cases are within the Hispanic or Latino community. That is twice the number of cases as in white communities.

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A new method of contact tracing is being taught in Orange County that is designed to build trust in some of the hardest hit communities. It is a partnership between the county's health department and UC Irvine.

"You identify cases and you isolate," says Dr. America Bracho of Latino Helath Access. "You identify contacts and you quarantine."

The plan sounds simple enough, according to Bracho, but organizers say there is a give and a take when it comes to contact tracing. They want to give people enough confidence to report positive COVID-19 cases, but they say it may take a village to do so.

Right now, that village is taking part in an online workshop designed to teach hundreds of college students, health care workers and concerned community members how to follow the path of a pandemic.

"There is contact tracing that is technical, but there is also the human side designed to make it happen," says Dr. America Bracho of Latino Health Access. "And if you don’t do the human side and trust side, people do not answer your calls."

Bracho points to the single zip code 92701, which is considered ground zero since this area has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Orange County.

As of Tuesday, according to county health officials, nearly 42% of all coronavirus cases are within the Hispanic or Latino community. That is twice the number of cases as in white communities.

It is also why Saraí Arpero wants to get involved, to ask the questions she believes she can get answered.

Arpero, a training student says, "Where are you two week ago? If you contact family friends, share with people just in case."

The training in conjunction with UC Irvine wraps up at the end of August. By then, organizers expect to have 500 new tracers on board.

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