30 University of Florida faculty, students are helping track the spread of COVID-19

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NCFL (WCJB) -- Thirty University of Florida faculty and students were recruited by the Florida Department of Health to help track the spread of coronavirus.

One of the them is PHD student, Upuli Dissanayake, studying epidemiology at the university's College of Public Health and Health Professions and the UF College of Medicine.

University leaders says many of the volunteers went to Broward County, but the PHD student was deployed to Osceola County and put up in a hotel with another student.

Dissanayake says they are the only two people staying at the hotel, as most have been forced to close their doors. She says the experience is spooky and reminds her of the shining.

The students work 12 hour days, tracing and contacting people who have coronavirus.

"We have to start at square one and figure out everywhere that they've been, anyone that they've talked to, all of their activities and just be as detailed as possible to figure out where the exposure came from and if they might have transmitted it to anybody else," Dissanayake said.

Dissanayake also says she hopes people will appreciate the scientists who interpret public health data to understand and slow the outbreak.