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K-State Today

September 15, 2020

K-State partners with Riley County Health Department to expand contact tracing

Submitted by Lafene Health Center

Kansas State University has signed an agreement with the Riley County Health Department to assist with contact tracing in the university community. On Wednesday, Sept. 16, Lafene Health Center will begin conducting contact tracing and disease investigation for students living on the Manhattan campus and for student-athletes. 

"Through this agreement, we are partnering with the Riley County Health Department to better understand and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in our university community," said Jennifer Miller, health promotion director at Lafene Health Center. "Our K-State team of contact tracers can quickly reach out to students to answer their questions and offer assistance. This partnership is another way we can help keep every Wildcat a Wellcat."

Contact tracing is a public health tool used to reach individuals who have contact with a person infected with a disease, such as COVID-19. Through this process, individuals are identified, informed about the infection and asked to test and quarantine.

By law, contact tracing is conducted through state and local county health departments. The Riley County Health Department asked Lafene Health Center to assist with contact tracing. The Riley County Health Department will continue to conduct contact tracing for students living off campus, K-State employees and K-State Athletics employees. 

"We are very grateful to have such a positive and collaborative working relationship with K-State," said Julie Gibbs, local health officer. "K-State has direct access to student records, which will help streamline the contact tracing process. This will allow for faster and more effective communication with students who have been impacted by COVID-19."

Graduate students in health-related professional programs and student employees at Lafene Health Center are conducting the contact tracing. Miller is training and supervising the contact tracers.

Learn more about contact tracing at K-State and learn more about the university's COVID-19 response at k-state.edu/covid-19.