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Identify the Primary Components of COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

Identify the Primary Components of COVID-19 Case Investigation and Contact Tracing

Team Lead Sample Training Plan

Updated June 4, 2020

A variety of modalities would be appropriate, including live webinar/teleconference, recorded webinar, or a self-paced eLearning course. Inclusion of a post-test is strongly recommended. This section can be omitted if learners are up-to-date or have previously participated in the contact tracing or case investigation training.

Content describing non-CDC tools on this site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended to indicate endorsement, actual or implied, of the tools. Additionally, information on this site is provided “as is,” for users to evaluate and make their own determination as to their effectiveness.

Topic areas and training resources

Foundational principles of public health

Relevant terminology

Introduction to case investigation and contact tracing

Describe skills and qualities necessary for case investigators and contact tracers

Training catalog

Emerging respiratory viruses, including COVID-19: methods for detection, prevention, response and control

Topic area: Foundational principles of public health, introduction to case investigation and contact tracing

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe the nature of emerging respiratory viruses, how to detect and assess an outbreak, strategies for preventing and controlling outbreaks due to novel respiratory viruses
  2. Describe strategies should be used to communicate risk and engage communities to detect, prevent and respond to the emergence of a novel respiratory virus

Every Contact Counts: Contact Tracing for Public Health Professionals

Topic area: Foundational principles of public health, introduction to case investigation, define case investigation, define contact tracing, investigation and elicitation, trace, quarantine or isolation, follow-up, motivational interviewing skills, risk communication, problem solving, emotional intelligence skills, cultural sensitivity, adaptations for contacts with communication impairments

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1091492/external icon
  • Target audience: Public health professionals who are new to contact tracing; Volunteers with a basic understanding of public health
  • Description: Contact tracing is an evidence-based way to slow the spread of infectious disease. It is the process of interviewing individuals who have been infected with a disease, identifying close contacts that they may have unknowingly exposed, and providing those contacts with the information needed to monitor their own health and prevent the continued spread of the illness. Learning effective contact tracing practices can help prevent further spread of COVID-19. This 90-minute online course developed by the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice in partnership with the Kansas Health Foundation will rapidly train public health workers in the subject of contact tracing. Within this module, you will learn more about what contact tracing is, why it is an effective tool to slow the spread of COVID-19, and how to practice contact tracing successfully

Learning Objectives:

  1. Define contact tracing
  2. Describe the important role contact tracers have in protecting the public
  3. Identify criteria that determine whether someone is a potential contact
  4. Identify the key components of a successful contact tracing interview
  5. Apply principles of successful contact tracing interviews to a mock interview scenario
  6. Conduct contact tracing interviews with professionalism and sensitivity.

COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Topic area: Foundational principles of public health, introduction to case investigation, define case investigation, define contact tracing, investigation and elicitation, trace, quarantine or isolation, follow-up, motivational interviewing skills, risk communication, problem solving, emotional intelligence skills, cultural sensitivity, adaptations for contacts with communication impairments

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1091439/external icon
  • Target audience: General public
  • Description: The COVID-19 crisis has created an unprecedented need for contact tracing across the country, requiring thousands of people to learn key skills quickly. The job qualifications for contact tracing positions differ throughout the country and the world, with some new positions open to individuals with a high school diploma or equivalent. In this introductory course, students will learn about the science of SARS-CoV-2 , including the infectious period, the clinical presentation of COVID-19, and the evidence for how SARS-CoV-2 is transmitted from person-to-person and why contact tracing can be such an effective public health intervention. Students will learn about how contact tracing is done, including how to build rapport with cases, identify their contacts, and support both cases and their contacts to stop transmission in their communities. The course will also cover several important ethical considerations around contact tracing, isolation, and quarantine. Finally, the course will identify some of the most common barriers to contact tracing efforts — along with strategies to overcome them.

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe the natural history of SARS-CoV-2 , including the infectious period, the presentation of COVID-19, and evidence for how it is transmitted
  2. Define an infectious contact and timeline for public health intervention through contact tracing
  3. Demonstrate the utility of case investigation and contact tracing, identify common barriers, and possible strategies to overcome them
  4. Present some ethical considerations around contact tracing, isolation and quarantine

Public Health 101 Series – Introduction to Public Health

Topic area: Foundational principles of public health

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1059661/external icon
  • Target audience: Individuals new to public health
  • Description: This course introduces learners to the mission of public health and key terms in the field. The course covers historical developments in public health, the roles of different stakeholders, public health’s core functions and essential services, determinants of health, and the Health Impact Pyramid.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Describe the purpose of public health
  2. Define key terms used in public health
  3. Identify prominent events in the history of public health
  4. Recognize the core public health functions and essential services
  5. Describe the role of different stakeholders in the field of public health
  6. List determinants of health
  7. Recognize how individual determinants of health affect population health

Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers: The Basics of Contact Tracing – Lesson 2

Topic area: Relevant terminology, define contact tracing, investigation and elicitation, trace, quarantine or isolate

  • Register: https://learn.astho.org/p/ContactTracerexternal icon
  • Target audience: Contact tracers
  • Description: The goal of lesson 2 (The Basics of Contact Tracing) is to provide an overview of the principles that will guide your work as a contact tracer. You will have the opportunity to learn basic definitions of contact tracing, gain an understanding of the steps involved, and become aware of the importance of confidentiality. Please note, lessons must be completed in order from one to four.

Learning objectives:

  1. Define PUI, contact, and contact tracing
  2. Describe the objectives of contact tracing
  3. List four fundamentals of contact tracing
  4. Describe the importance of privacy protections
  5. Identify the four main steps involved in the contact tracing process

Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers: Case Monitoring and Resources – Lesson 4

Topic area: Relevant terminology, follow-up

  • Register: https://learn.astho.org/p/ContactTracerexternal icon
  • Target audience: Contact tracers and case investigators
  • Description: Case investigators and contact tracers will follow-up and monitor cases (PUIs or their contacts) to ensure they are following appropriate isolation or quarantine instructions and to track the development of any potential COVID-19 symptoms. Lesson 4 (Case Monitoring and Resources) will provide information on the different types of case monitoring and the activities you might be involved in. Please note, lessons must be completed in order from one to four.

Learning objectives:

  1. Explain the difference between the two types of case monitoring
  2. Describe potential follow-up activities that may be required during monitoring
  3. Identify the types of resources and services that may be provided during the monitoring period.
  4. Explain what it means to escalate or “refer up” a case that needs more help than you’re able to provide

Covid-19 Epidemiology Grand Rounds

Topic area: Introduction to case investigation and contact tracing

Learning objectives:

Not available 

An Introduction to Follow-up for Positive COVID-19 Cases and their close Contacts

Topic area: Introduction to case investigation and contact tracing

Learning objectives:

Not available 

Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers: The Basics of Contact Tracing – Lesson 1

Topic area: Introduction to case investigation and contact tracing

  • Register: https://learn.astho.org/p/ContactTracerexternal icon
  • Target audience: Case investigators and contact tracers
  • Description: Contact Tracers must understand the basics of coronavirus disease transmission in order to perform contact tracing and disease intervention activities effectively. This lesson will provide an overview of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), including its incubation and infectious periods, symptoms, and how to prevent it. Please note, lessons must be completed in order from one to four.

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe what COVID-19 is
  2. Describe how to prevent COVID-19 transmission
  3. List symptoms of COVID-19
  4. Define social distancing, quarantine, and isolation
  5. Describe the incubation and infectious periods 

Making Contact: A Training for COVID-19 Contact Tracers: Effective Communication and Interviews – Lesson 3

Topic area: Introduction to case investigation and contact tracing, motivational interview skills, risk communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence skills, cultural sensitivity, adaptations for contacts with hearing impairments

  • Register: https://learn.astho.org/p/ContactTracerexternal icon
  • Target audience: Contact tracers and case investigators
  • Description: As a contact tracer, you will conduct interviews with people who may have been exposed to COVID-19. Depending on how your team is organized, you may also conduct interviews with persons under investigation (PUIs). Lesson 3 (Effective Communication and Interviews) will provide information on how to use effective communication techniques, prepare for and conduct an interview, and approach your interactions with cultural humility. Some of these terms may be new to you, and we’ll cover them as we move through the lesson. Please note, lessons must be completed in order from one to four.

Learning objectives:

  1. Name at least three communication techniques for effective interviewing
  2. Explain the importance of showing cultural humility during case interviews
  3. Describe how to prepare for an interview
  4. Explain the four parts of an interview 

General Contact Tracing Phone Calls

Topic area: Define case investigation, define contact tracing

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1091008/external icon
  • Target audience: Volunteer callers for Michigan
  • Description: This training is a generalized contact tracing training to prepare volunteers for assisting and completing contact calls for persons who have been exposed to COVID19. The training briefly describes why contact training is important and what the process of contact training calls entails.

Learning objectives:

  1.  Discuss what is contact tracing and why it is important
  2. Discuss how to de-escalate difficult conversations
  3. Discuss the script when calling someone exposed
  4. Describe resources available to you to answer questions
  5. Review how you will be receiving contacts, how you should be documenting and sharing the information you have gathered, to whom you should be reporting, and how often 

Interviewing Unit 5: Cluster Interviews and Re-Interviews

Topic area: Motivational interviewing skills

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1089364/external icon
  • Target audience: STD partner services providers
  • Description: Provides elements of cluster interviews for STD partner services providers. Includes the format of the interview and tips for providing risk reduction messages.

Learning objectives:

  1.  Identify the reasons and conditions for conducting a Cluster Interview, including planning
  2. Identify the elements of the Cluster Interview format and the difference in formats between a Cluster Interview and an Original Interview
  3. Explain the process for choosing a Cluster candidate 

COVID-19 Contact Investigation Training

Topic area: Motivational interviewing skills

Learning objectives:

  1. Discuss COVID-19 background
  2. Discuss case investigation tools
  3. Identify investigation interview techniques
  4. Discuss types of contact follow-up
  5. Identify COVID case and contact investigation resources 

Effective Interviewing for Contact Investigation: Self-Study Modules

Topic area: Motivational interviewing skills

  • View: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/guidestoolkits/interviewing/tbinterviewing_ssmodules.pdfpdf icon
  • Target audience: TB interviewers
  • Description: This resource will offer guidance to both new and experienced TB interviewers about how to communicate clearly with patients under various circumstances. Consists of 4 modules, including an overview of the TB interview for contact investigations, basics of communication and patient education, cultural competency, and special interview circumstances.

Learning objectives:

  1. Define a TB interview
  2. Formulate a TB interview strategy
  3. Identify who requires a TB interview and for what reasons
  4. Prioritize TB interviews based on various factors
  5. Determine an infectious period for contact identification
  6. Conduct a TB interview in a logical and productive manner
  7. Conduct a re-interview asking the appropriate follow-up questions
  8. Explain why patient education is important in the TB interview process
  9. Define communication
  10. Identify verbal and nonverbal patient cues and their meanings
  11. Use closed, open-ended, and focused questions to gather descriptive, yet targeted information
  12. Utilize the techniques of reflection, paraphrasing, and summarizing to affect the course of the interview
  13.  Address and overcome communication barriers
  14.  Select, and communicate through, an appropriate interpreter
  15. Apply effective communication concepts to patient education
  16. Describe the concepts of culture and cultural competency
  17. Identify various factors that contribute to an individual’s culture
  18. Understand why cultural competency is essential in TB interviewing
  19. Assess the communication process based on a patient’s verbal and nonverbal cues
  20. Limit the barriers of language, dialect, lifestyle, and belief differences during an interview
  21. Describe how TB interviews may vary depending on the patient’s life circumstances
  22. Decide when to use, how to choose, and how to interview a proxy
  23. Conduct a source case interview by selecting an appropriate interviewee and eliciting appropriate contact and exposure setting information
  24. Conduct interviews in outbreak circumstances
  25. Understand social network analysis and the role the interviewer plays 

Introduction to Telephone Interviewing for DIS

Topic areas: Motivational interviewing skills

  • Watch: https://www.train.org/main/course/1090632external icon
  • Target audience: STD partner services providers
  • Description: This module will introduce partner services providers (i.e., DIS) to the basic principles and best practices for conducting telephone interviews. It covers professionalism, confidentiality and cultural competency. Learners also learn how to prepare for and conduct a telephone interview.

Learning objectives:

  1. Demonstrate confidence when planning and conducting telephone interviews
  2. Understand principles and best practices for conducting telephone interviews
  3. Improve communication skills and maximize interviewing effectiveness 

TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course: Introduction to Contact Investigation Process

Topic areas: Motivational interviewing skills

  • View: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/education/skillscourse/default.htm
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: The TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course is designed as an interactive, skill-building training. The course provides an overview of the contact investigation process, basic communication and interviewing skills, and opportunities to apply those skills in role play activities.

Learning objectives:

  1. Explain the purpose of a TB contact investigation
  2. Describe core concepts and skills that are required to conduct a TB contact investigation
  3. Determine when to initiate a TB contact investigation
  4. Describe the systematic approach to conducting a TB contact investigation 

COVID-19 Public Health Strategy Basic Concepts – NDPHTN

Topic areas: Risk communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence skills

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1090675/external icon
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: Provide a basic background to the COVID-19 pandemic and describe the important steps to flatten the curve of COVID-19. Also provides an overview of crisis communication strategies and coordinating crisis response.

Learning objectives:

  1. Review coronavirus history
  2. Review COVID-19 characteristics
  3. Discuss 6 concepts to flatten the curve
  4. Review the 10 social distancing recommendations
  5. Review COVID-19 testing concepts
  6. Discuss how cocooning protects high risk individuals
  7. Discuss key concepts of crisis communications in pandemics 

Introduction for Trauma Informed Care for DIS

Topic area: Risk communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence skills

  • Register: https://cdc.train.org/cdctrain/course/1090752/external icon
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: This course is designed to introduce Disease Intervention Specialists (DIS) to the principles and strategies of trauma-informed care, so they are equipped with the knowledge and tools necessary to support clients who have experienced trauma. This course includes many printable resources to refer back to and to include in your DIS toolkit.

Learning objectives:

  1. Summarize the definition of trauma and its impact on the brain
  2. Describe the conceptual framework for trauma-informed care
  3. Provide at least two examples of applying trauma-informed care in the DIS context 

CERC Overview for COVID-19

Topic area: Risk communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence skills

Learning objectives:

  1.  Define the six crisis and emergency risk communication (CERC) principles.
  2. Describe the lifecycle of CERC and how communication works at each phase of a crisis.
  3. Describe how emergency risk communication is different from regular communication.
  4. Describe the psychology of a crisis.
  5. Describe the process for gathering audience feedback.
  6. Describe how to tailor messages to target audiences.
  7. Develop a crisis communication plan.
  8. List best practices of a spokesperson.
  9. Explain best practices for engaging stakeholders through communication during an emergency. 

Communication Skills

Topic area: Risk communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence skills

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1089357/external icon
  • Target audience: STD partner services providers
  • Description: Provides learners with an understanding of the basic communication skills necessary for partner services providers, and to give them opportunities to practice those communication skills. This module also focuses on various problem solving techniques, and the importance of maintaining an assertive stance.

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe factors associated with good communication
  2. Identify barriers to communication
  3. Define assertive, non-assertive, and aggressive communication and explain the distinctions between them 

Disaster Health Core Curriculum: Competency 4: Communication

Topic area: Risk communication, problem solving, and emotional intelligence skills

Learning objectives:

  1. Explain the operational relevance of the following concepts in the context of public health crisis risk communication: risk perception, mental noise, trust determination, and negative dominance
  2. Explain the relevance of cultural competency in the context of public health emergency risk communication
  3. Identify strategies to communicate in a culturally competent fashion in public health emergencies and disaster events
  4. Identify authoritative sources for information gathering in a public health crisis and disasters that can inform effective emergency risk communication during and after these events
  5. Demonstrate the features and utility of a message map as a tool for public health emergency risk communication 

TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course: Communication Skills for Building Rapport During Contact Investigation Interviewing

Topic areas: Risk communication, problem solving, emotional intelligence skills

  • View: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/education/skillscourse/default.htm
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: The TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course is designed as an interactive, skill-building training. The course provides an overview of the contact investigation process, basic communication and interviewing skills, and opportunities to apply those skills in role play activities.

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe how to build rapport
  2. List at least six effective communication skills
  3. Describe assertive, passive, and aggressive behavior 

TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course: Special Circumstances

Topic areas: Risk communication, problem solving, emotional intelligence skills

  • View: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/education/skillscourse/default.htm
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: The TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course is designed as an interactive, skill-building training. The course provides an overview of the contact investigation process, basic communication and interviewing skills, and opportunities to apply those skills in role play activities.

Learning objectives:

  1. Decide when to use a proxy for an interview
  2. Explain how to work with the management of congregate settings
  3. List two strategies for working with the media during a contact investigation 

Receiving Feedback

Topic area: Risk communication, problem solving, emotional intelligence skills

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1059257/external icon
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: Explores the reactions that typically occur when a person receives corrective feedback or criticism. Learn an approach to receive feedback in a productive manner and practice receiving feedback using that approach.

Learning objectives:

Not available 

Health Literacy for Public Health Professionals

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1078759/external icon
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: The purpose of this web-based training program is to educate health professionals about public health literacy and their role in providing health information and services and promoting public health literacy. The course uses a 508-compliant template, knowledge checks, scenario-based interactions, video clips, and a post-test to engage learners. The course includes an evaluation, glossary, and resource list.

Learning objectives:

  1. Define public health literacy
  2. List factors that influence public health literacy
  3. Identify who is affected by public health literacy
  4. Identify consequences of limited public health literacy
  5. Determine who the stakeholders in public health literacy are
  6. Recognize the role of public health literacy in meeting core public health services
  7. Apply lessons learned to improve public health literacy 

COVID-19 Case and Contact Investigations Training for Tribes

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe why case and contact investigation is important for Tribes
  2. Discuss COVID-19 background
  3. Identify investigation interview techniques
  4. Discuss case investigation tools
  5. Discuss public health recommendations for contacts
  6. Discuss types of contact follow-up
  7. Identify COVID case and contact investigation resources

TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course: Cultural and Diversity Considerations

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity

  • View: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/education/skillscourse/default.htm
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: The TB Contact Investigation Interviewing Skills Course is designed as an interactive, skill-building training. The course provides an overview of the contact investigation process, basic communication and interviewing skills, and opportunities to apply those skills in role play activities.

Learning objectives:

  1. Define cultural competency
  2. State of the four elements of cross-cultural communication

The Guide to Providing Effective Communication and Language Assistance Services

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity, adaptations for contacts with communication impairments

Learning objectives:

  1. Cross-cultural communication skills
  2. Verbal communication strategies
  3. Written communication strategies
  4. Notice of communication and language assistance services

Cultural Competency Program for Disaster Preparedness and Crisis Response

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity

  • Register: https://thinkculturalhealth.hhs.gov/education/disaster-personnelexternal icon
  • Target audience: Any disaster or emergency response personnel interested in learning more about culturally and linguistically appropriate services
  • Description: Research shows that cultural minority groups suffer disproportionately during every phase of a disaster. This e-learning program will equip you with the knowledge, skills, and awareness to best serve all individuals, regardless of cultural or linguistic background.

Learning objectives:

  1. Course 1 provides an introduction to CLAS and its relevance to disaster preparedness and crisis response.
  2. Course 2 covers how to provide CLAS during the preparation phase of a disaster, including conducting a community needs assessment
  3. Course 3 covers how to provide CLAS during the response phase of a disaster, including meeting physical and mental health needs
  4. Course 4 covers how to provide CLAS during the recovery phase of a disaster, including rebuilding neighborhoods

Implicit Bias in Public Health Practice

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity

  • Register: https://www.mitrainingcenter.org/courses/ibpha1219external icon
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: The field of public health increasingly focuses on health equity and population health outcomes. While systemic factors are major drivers of inequities, what is the role of the individual? This recorded webinar will introduce the idea of implicit bias and how it is relevant to all public health professionals, regardless of discipline or role in an agency. Participants will learn key definitions, examine data showing the implications of implicit bias in public health, and discuss some strategies to prevent it. Ultimately, no matter how well-intended, we all have some biases we can address to improve our positive impact on population health and on each other.

Learning objectives:

  1. Define implicit bias and its relation to public health practice
  2. Reflect on personal and professional biases
  3. Introduce bias busting techniques

Cross-Cultural Communications Cognition and Linguistics-NDPHTN

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity

  • Register: https://www.train.org/main/course/1087168/external icon
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: This training is facilitated through the North Dakota Public Health Training network to explain cross-cultural communications, cognition and linguistics

Learning objectives:

  1. Describe the process of developing meaning in message respondents
  2. Explain how meaning transfer relates to the communications model
  3. Recognize the importance of the seven dimensions of cultural distance in cross-cultural communications
  4. Describe the tri-systemic model of cognition and how that model applies to public health communications
  5. Demonstrate the importance of stories for transmitting meaning in relationship cultures
  6. Describe the breadth of worldwide languages and dialects
  7. Describe the role of languages
  8. Describe three basic steps to overcome language barriers
  9. Explain the importance of horizontal communicators in effective community messaging
  10. Briefly explain the importance of the semantic differential and language impact on culture

Cultural Humility: People, Principles, and Practice

Topic area: Cultural sensitivity

  • Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SaSHLbS1V4w
  • Target audience: Public health professionals
  • Description: “Cultural Humility: People, Principles and Practices,” is a 30-minute documentary by San Francisco State professor Vivian Chávez, that mixes poetry with music, interviews, archival footage, and images of community, nature and dance to explain what Cultural Humility is and why we need it. The film describes a set of principles that guide the thinking, behavior and actions of individuals and institutions to positively affect interpersonal relationships as well as systems change.

Learning objectives:

  1. Lifelong learning and critical self-reflection
  2. Recognizing and changing power imbalances
  3. Developing institutional accountability 

Culturally Competent Public Health Practice for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Populations

Topic area: Adaptations for contacts with communication impairments

  • Register: https://www.train.org/cdctrain/main/1087468/external icon
  • Target audience: Public health and healthcare professionals
  • Description: This training will present tools and knowledge for working with the deaf and hard of hearing community, as well as common misconceptions about deaf culture and sub-cultures within the community.

Learning objectives:

  1. Create awareness of deaf culture and sub-cultures within the deaf community
  2. Discuss the benefits and importance of working with a sign interpreter
  3. Identify gaps in health literacy among the deaf community
  4. Formulate best methods for working with deaf and hard of hearing community

Other files and webpages

Topic area: Foundational principles of public heath

Topic area: Notification of exposed individuals (contacts)

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