The purpose of this task is to enable you to use applied epidemiological methods to support a critical public health monitoring and protection function. For this task you will assess epidemiological information to support disease outbreak investigations and other surveillance activities.
For this assignment, you are to assume the role of a Public Health Officer within a state/territory Health Department, undertake appropriate contact tracing and exposure assessments for a notified COVID-19 positive case in a local school. You are expected to source relevant websites and/or publications to support responses for all questions, with correctly formatted referencing.
This assignment comprises two parts. In Part A you will answer questions that provide background information on the topic and discuss the role of epidemiology in disease outbreaks and surveillance. Part A is to be written academically as answers to the questions asked, supported by evidence.
Part B is a brief report. It is to be written in layman’s terms as a report to a school community.
Answer both Part A and Part B. Refer to the next two pages for further detail.
Part A (15 marks)
What is notifiable disease and what is contact tracing in epidemiology? Mention the recommended steps for contact tracing in Australia.
What are the signs and symptoms of COVID-19? How is COVID-19 transmitted, and how infectious is it? What is the current disease burden of COVID-19 (e.g. incidence, prevalence, mortality) in Australia?
Discuss briefly different approaches and measures undertaken by the government of different countries to control and manage the COVID-19 pandemic including any potential treatment options at the population level. Provide examples from at least 2 countries.
Part B (10 marks)
You are required to prepare a brief report for the school community to address their concerns on ensuring optimum health and safety of their students, staff, and the community.
You are writing to the community, so your report needs to be written in simple language (layman’s terms) for those in the community to understand. It is not an academic report. [NB. You are still required to reference your information, so consider how you will you do this in your community report).
Do not write Part B like a short answer assignment. The structure below is only given for your benefit so that you will incorporate the relevant information into your report. Imagine that you were part of the school community (parent/staff/neighbourhood). Consider how you would you expect to receive the information below. You would want it to be easy to understand and your concerns addressed. Consider how you would present your report to the school community.
Include in the report:
a. Who are the high-risk groups for contact tracing, and in what clinical circumstances should more distant contacts or other members of the community present to the clinic for testing?
b. What procedures have been taken for the identified household contacts, including follow-up.
c. What to do if somebody in the school has been in close contact with a confirmed case.
d. What to do if somebody in the school is tested and their results are positive.
e. When would the student (index case) be able to return to class, and would parents/teachers need to be concerned about themselves and other children developing COVID-19?
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