weather icon Clear
RJ App
Vegas News, Alerts, ePaper

UNLV gets $3.4M state grant to expand COVID-19 contact tracing

The UNLV School of Public Health received a $3.4 million state grant to expand its COVID-19 contact tracing program.

More than 200 UNLV students will be employed through the program, a partnership with the Southern Nevada Health District, the school said in a news release.

A group of volunteers — students from UNLV’s School of Public Health — formed a contact tracing team in March. The state grant will allow more UNLV students, hailing from several academic areas, to participate.

The school has used grant money to train 60 students thus far, according to the news release, and more are in training now. More than 1,100 students have applied for the contact tracing positions.

“Applying what they have learned in the classroom and through training, our students are now at the forefront of COVID-19 prevention efforts in the community,” UNLV School of Public Health Dean Shawn Gerstenberger said in the news release. “We’re now able to provide our students with another chance to gain relevant, first-hand experience in public health while serving the community during this critical time.”

UNLV epidemiologist Brian Labus is the principal investigator for the grant. He’s also a member of the state’s COVID-19 medical advisory team.

“Contact tracing is a vital part of monitoring and controlling the spread of infectious diseases, and our students are playing a key role in the process and potentially saving lives,” Labus said in the news release. “By increasing the number of contact tracers, we can decrease the impact of the virus. We can more efficiently and quickly identify those who may have been exposed and infected.”

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.