4,000 people contacted through Trinity’s contact tracing centre

Half of the centre’s volunteers are staff in Trinity’s Health Sciences faculty

Volunteers have contacted up to 4,000 people through the contract tracing centre in the Trinity Business School building since the centre was set up at the end of March after College closed to the public.

The contact tracing centre has been operated by 60 volunteers, including 30 staff members from Trinity’s Health Sciences faculty and a further 30 from the Department of An Taoiseach and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

Clinical Skills Manager in the School of Nursing and Midwifery Freda Neill said that the team “spoke to people who may have been in contact or had signs and symptoms of Covid-19”.

“Our job was to keep the public safe and to provide as much information as we could to protect the public, by collecting and recording cases in an IT system, which is shared in the daily national figures report,” Neill outlined.

Neill described that the team, which consisted of Trinity clinicians, civil servants and public representatives, “huddled” together each morning, during which they “talked about the previous day’s cases, and planned and prepared for the day ahead”. 

In a press statement, College said that a letter of thanks from the HSE noted that Trinity’s contact tracing centre had a significant impact in efforts to combat Covid-19.

The centre opened in the school after Defence Forces trained the volunteers in performing contact tracing for Covid-19 on March 31.

Speaking to Trinity News at the time, Dean of the School of Business Professor Andrew Burke said that the school was “honoured to have these wonderful volunteers in Trinity Business School during this health crisis”.

“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.”

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.

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.