Contact tracing: Answer the call to slow the spread

A vital practice in the aid to slow the spread of COVID-19, here's an understanding of contact tracing.

Contact tracing is an effective control strategy that involves identifying COVID-19 cases and their contacts, then working with them to interrupt disease transmission.

This includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily. Contact tracing is a key strategy to prevent the future spread of COVID-19.

So the health department calls you, now what?

If you were around someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, someone from the health department may call you to let you know that you may have been exposed to COVID-19.

Stay home away from others for 14 days (self-quarantine) after your last contact with that person.

Health department staff will help identify the dates for your self-quarantine. Health department staff can also provide resources for COVID-19 testing in your area.

Self-quarantine means staying home away from others and monitoring your health.

If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a mask. This will help protect the people around you.

If you need support or assistance while in self-quarantine, your health department or community organizations may be able to provide assistance.

Monitor your health and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Remember, symptoms may appear 2-14 days after you were exposed to COVID-19. Tell the health department if you develop any symptoms. Tell people you were around recently if you become ill, so they can monitor their health.

If your symptoms worsen or become severe, seek medical care. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, new confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.

The health department staff will not ask you for:

  • Money
  • Social Security number
  • Bank account information
  • Salary information, or
  • Credit card numbers

The most important thing you can do if you receive a call from your local health department is to answer the call.

Prompt identification, voluntary quarantine and monitoring of a person diagnosed with COVID-19 and their contacts can effectively break the chain of disease transmission and prevent further spread of the virus.