Trinity Business School to host contact tracing volunteers

Defence Forces are training contact tracers in the business school building

The Trinity Business School building is to be used as a venue for contact tracing volunteers as the HSE looks to expand the tracing of individuals who have been in contact with confirmed cases of Covid-19.

The school hosted the Defence Forces today as they trained the volunteers in performing contact tracing for Covid-19. Contact tracing is expected to begin in the building tomorrow.

On social media, the Trinity Business School said: “The Defence Forces are training in covid-19 contact tracing volunteers from the HSE right now here on the Tangent floor at Trinity Business school. They will begin operating from their base here at the school tomorrow.”

“We are delighted to support them in flattening this curve!” the post from the school continued.

The business school building, which opened in May 2019, is currently closed to students along with the rest of campus, as universities and schools around the country have been told to shut until April 19.

Speaking to Trinity News, Dean of the School of Business Professor Andrew Burke said that Provost Patrick Prendergast “deserves the credit”.

“He was keen to offer the building for this activity and out of courtesy asked Trinity Business School & Tangent if this was ok. We said absolutely yes!” Burke outlined.

“In fact, we are honoured to have these wonderful volunteers in Trinity Business School during this health crisis,” Burke continued. “We really admire and respect them for what they are doing.  We are delighted that the building is being used for this critical activity rather than standing idle at this time of need and community spirit.”

In Dublin City University (DCU), a call centre has been set up to facilitate contact tracing, with volunteer staff from the university making contact with individuals who have tested positive for the virus and those who may have been exposed to it.

The HSE has identified two types of contacts that are to be contacted under the contact tracing programme: close contacts and casual contacts. Close contacts include individuals who have spent longer than 15 minutes face-to-face with a confirmed case, household members, aircraft passengers sitting within two seats in any direction of the case and crew members working in the same section of the aircraft, and healthcare workers exposed while not fully protected by personal protective equipment (PPE) during the infectious period.

Casual contacts include healthcare workers who have used appropriate PPE, individuals sharing a close space with the confirmed case for less than two hours and aircraft passengers sat more than two seats in any direction away from the case during the infectious period.

Guidelines from the Health Protection Surveillance Centre (HPSC) outline that individuals identified as having been in close contact with confirmed cases of the virus should be contacted by a staff member at the Department of Public Health each day for a set number of days to check whether the individual has developed symptoms.

The guidelines, which were published on March 20, direct that contact tracing “should be initiated IMMEDIATELY after a confirmed case of Covid-19, or a highly likely suspected case, is identified in Ireland”.

A letter template for communicating with close contacts gives information on coronaviruses, the associated risks and symptoms, and directions for isolation.

Individuals identified as having been in casual contact with a confirmed case are to receive a similar letter. However, casual contacts will not receive a daily follow-up from the Department of Public Health, and are instead advised to monitor themselves for symptoms and contact their local Public Health Department if they develop symptoms within 14 days following exposure to the confirmed case.

On Monday 30, the Department of Health announced that 295 cases had been diagnosed in Ireland and eight more people had died, bringing the total number of cases in the Republic to to 2,910 and the number of people who have died to 54.

Lauren Boland

Lauren Boland was the Editor of the 67th volume of Trinity News. She is an English Literature and Sociology graduate and previously served as Deputy Editor, News Editor and Assistant News Editor.