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Senior Tracks COVID-19 Cases in Florida Hometown

Dalton Price, student
man standing in front of a concrete sign that reads Florida Department of Health with greenery around it

As a college senior with an interest in infectious diseases, Dalton Price ’20 said it was completely obvious he would help fight the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when Cornell switched to virtual instruction and he headed home to Florida. Since leaving campus, Price has spent about 25 hours per week–even while wrapping up exams and projects–working with the Florida Department of Health in Volusia County to track cases and educate people about the virus. His responsibilities include tracking case numbers, conducting contact tracing, deciding where and how testing should happen, communicating information to the public about testing sites and prevention, and ensuring equitable approaches in the health department’s work. “I know my community well and had already reached out a few years ago to our health commissioner, so I sent her an email again,” he said. “I want to do what I can.” He plans to use any means necessary – social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, newspapers, town meetings, Zoom forums, and phone calls and emails with residents–to make information about the virus more accessible for people. He posts frequent updates on Florida cases on his Twitter account. “There’s so much misinformation, and people form their beliefs because of this misinformation,” he said. “I don’t blame them, but if we don’t deal with this now, then when a vaccine comes, we will have a whole other issue of people refusing to get the vaccination.”

Read the full story by Kathy Hovis, Cornell Chronicle