Contact Tracing

As a core disease control measure employed by state and local health department personnel for decades, contact tracing is the identification, monitoring and support for those who have tested positive for COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19. 

As one of the key response strategies for preventing further spread of COVID-19, contact tracing requires strong public health leadership and a public health infrastructure that includes diagnostic testing and rapid results, a workforce of well-trained contact tracers and a robust process for case management and support. A strategic communications campaign and culturally competent communicators are essential. Robust community contact tracing also provides a structure for future needs such as clinical research, community vaccination initiatives, and treatment options.

Contact Tracing: The Basics

Contact tracing is an effective disease control strategy that involves identifying cases and their contacts then working with them to interrupt disease transmission.
Contact tracing is a key strategy to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
The contact tracing process prevents further transmission of disease by separating people who have (or may have) an infectious disease from people who do not.
Contact tracing is the identification, monitoring, and support of the individuals (contacts) who have tested positive for COVID-19 or have been exposed to COVID-19.
Prompt identification, voluntary isolation or quarantine, and monitoring of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and their contacts can effectively break the chain of disease transmission.
Contact tracing is a core disease control measure that has been used by state and local health departments for decades to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases.

Contact Tracing: How it Works

For those who have tested Positive for COVID-19

Positive COVID-19 test results are required to be reported to health departments.

Contact tracers call individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 to check on their health, discuss who they have been in contact with and request that they stay at home to self-isolate. (Self-isolation means staying at home in a specific room away from other people and pets, and using a separate bathroom, if possible.)

Contact tracers also will explain when a COVID positive individual should seek medical care, and they may also connect the individual with wrap around services, like assistance with food and other basics social supports.

Unless permission is given, an individual’s name will not be revealed to others, even those who are contacts, and even if contacts ask.

All information provided to contact tracers is confidential.

For those who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive

Contact tracers also call individuals who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

The tracer informs the individual they may have been exposed. They request the individual self-quarantine. (Self-quarantine means staying home, monitoring yourself, and maintaining physical distancing (at least 6 feet from others).

Contact Tracing Communication Resources

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