ASU epidemiologist Megan Jehn is leading multiple efforts to investigate and respond to the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona. Her team of trained case investigator students, volunteers, and staff is on the ground in Maricopa County tracking the novel coronavirus by investigating individual cases and assisting communities disproportionately affected by COVID-19.
In March, 2020, the Student Outbreak Response Team (SORT) team quickly shifted from an on-campus program to a virtual call center and took on a new role as the ASU COVID-19 Case Investigation Team. In May, the team moved into action to help the Maricopa County Department of Public Health conduct case investigations of individuals who had tested positive for COVID-19, interviewing them about their symptoms and possible contacts. Since July 2020, the ASU COVID-19 Case Investigation Team has trained over 300 case investigators and completed over 20,000 case investigations for COVID-19.
Case investigation helps the county learn more about the coronavirus and is the first step in contact tracing in order to limit the spread of COVID-19. Case investigators utilize communication skills, cultural humility and knowledge of COVID-19 to collect health data, provide education about safety, and elicit information about possible contacts of the case who may have been exposed to COVID-19. The COVID-19 Case Investigation Team includes a Case Investigation Unit and Community Response Unit.
Case Investigation Team: The case investigation unit works with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to conduct COVID-19 public health case investigations for all newly diagnosed cases. In scaling up the program, over 300 case investigators were trained and over 20,000 cases have been closed since July 2020.
Community Response Team: The community response team operates as a field epidemiology unit, working with the Maricopa County Department of Public Health, the town of Guadalupe and the Pascua Yaqui Tribe in Arizona to conduct case investigation, and provide needs assessments and home isolation support for communities that are disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Since its inception, over 300 households have had home isolation supplies delivered to them and over 500 cases have been closed in the town of Guadalupe.
Partners: Maricopa County Department of Public Health
Maricopa County Department of Public Health (2020)