Trinity HSE contact tracing centre helps combat COVID-19

Posted on: 08 July 2020

As the country is in Phase 3 of the Government’s roadmap for reopening society and business, the various indicators referenced in the Department of Health/NPHET’s daily press conferences appear to be going in the right direction. This has allowed for a scaling back of COVID-19 response efforts, including the HSE Contact Tracing Centres, one of which was based in Trinity.

Up to 4,000 people were contacted by the 60 volunteers operating the Contact Tracing Centre (CTC) in Trinity. Thirty of these volunteers were staff from Trinity’s Faculty of Health Sciences while others were from the Department of An Taoiseach and the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

Freda Neill, Clinical Skills Manager in the School of Nursing and Midwifery was the driving force behind setting up and managing the CTC in Trinity since the middle of March. Located in Tangent in the Trinity Business School, the CTC’s establishment was very much a team effort with input from Estates and Facilities, IT Services, and Tangent staff.

“Our interpersonal, inter-collaborative team comprising of Trinity clinicians, civil servants and public representatives 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”, Freda explained.

“Each morning we huddled, talked about the previous day’s cases, and planned and prepared for the day ahead. I was so happy to be representing Trinity and continuing to help control COVID-19 in Ireland”, Freda said.

At its peak, the CTCs combined contacted over 18,000 people in relation to the COVID-19 virus. Freda’s perseverance with the process and making sure the contact tracers were kept up to date on changes to IT systems and call scripts at all times was hugely impactful as the country moved through the peaks and troughs of the virus.

The HSE, in a letter of thanks, noted that the Trinity CTC has had a significant level of impact on the success of combating the COVID-19 virus to date and that many lives were saved in the National Contact Management Programme’s great collective effort. It warmly thanked Trinity’s clinical staff in the CTC for their commitment in conducting calls with ‘COVID-19 positive patients’ and in supporting the non-clinical CTC volunteers on the ground in Trinity, Freda Neill, Prof Orla Sheils, Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences, Ken Finnegan, CEO of Tangent, and all of the Trinity team involved.

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