On the Case: Investigator for COVID-19 Infections Connects the Dots

February 16, 2021

Tips from the CDC on how to be safe during the pandemic.

Infographic courtesy of Mercedes Barriga

Tips from the CDC on how to be safe during the pandemic.

Godinez alumni and former journalism student, Jessica Jimenez, works with contact tracers in Orange County as a case investigator.

The purpose of contact tracers is to inform any patients who have been potentially exposed to COVID-19 and give them enough resources on how to recover.

“I have to be an empathetic person when I do interviews. I have to be nonjudgmental and some of the interview skills I learned in journalism really helped me,” said Jimenez. 

Jimenez said that her proper title as a contact tracer is case investigator. A recent graduate of UC Berkeley, Jimenez is responsible for calling patients and interviewing them while also providing resources and answering any questions.

Contact tracing is not an in person job. They usually call patients that have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Sessions vary from person to person, however, the average session is 30 minutes per person. Jimenez receives about 10 new cases per day. 

However, Jimenez said that some people have it worse than others. Many people who are infected have traveled and that takes more work.

“It’s important to understand the consequences and what might happen if people take those risks,” said Jimenez.

The hardest part for her job though is the emotional moments during an interview because she’s had to hear a lot of sad stories about people losing some of their loved ones.

Overall, contact tracing has been shown to be a highly effective strategy to slow down the spread of COVID-19. 

“It’s important to know that they have to exercise caution, like six feet apart, stay at home, and wear a mask,” added Jimenez.

Do your part to stay safe.

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