When Cornell University in New York announced it would be closed for the fall of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it called in the county public health department, local health system, and an institution of higher education to help prevent the spread of the virus among its 25,000 students and 10,000 employees, Live Science reports.
The team's goal was "to minimize academic and employment disruption via rapid case notification, case investigation, isolation support, contact tracing, contact notification, and quarantine support," the county public health department says in a press release.
The team's Pandemic Response Officer (PRO) program " grew out of necessity, but also because of opportunity and ability to strategize at a systems level to support population well-being via task-sharing," the county public health department says.
"Our specific goals were to minimize COVID-19 cases, limit academic and employment disruption via expedient case and contact support, and alleviate strain on county public health system."
The team managed 773 employee and 2,943 student cases from Jan.
1 to Dec.
During that time, the PROs saved the public health department and estimated 2,797 hours of effort, equating to over 10 professionals working full time and weekends to process cases and contacts during this interval.
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