Pandemic Preparedness: What to expect if you are contacted by a contact tracer?

Universities, health departments, and health services are partnering with communities and counties to assist with contact tracing. Contact tracing efforts have significantly increased statewide in hopes of reaching more positive COVID-19 cases and their close contacts. For more information about what contact tracing is, visit this link. As COVID-19 contact tracing ramps up, you may be wondering what to expect if you are contacted. 

How should I be prepared to speak with a contact tracer?

  • To be prepared in the event that either you contract the virus or have had contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19, it is important to:

1.     Be aware of anyone you have had close contact with. A close contact includes anyone that you have been less than 6 feet away from for 15 or more minutes (regardless of if you were wearing a mask). You may also download an exposure notification app, if one is available in your area. These apps work best if everyone uses them. Your phone exchanges anonymous codes with other devices that are close to yours through Bluetooth. When someone tests positive for COVID they enter a code that then sends a notice to all devices that received the Bluetooth codes. This will tell you if and when you were exposed AND tell you how long to quarantine to keep others safe. But it won’t be able to tell you about contacts with people who don’t have the app or never enter their positive COVID code.

2.     Watch for signs and symptoms and write down the date and time and your symptoms if you begin feeling ill. 

3.     Get tested if you begin to show symptoms or believe that you may have COVID-19.

What should you do if you are contacted by a Contact Tracer?

IF YOU ARE SICKIF YOU ARE A CLOSE CONTACT OF SOMEONE WHO IS SICK
You have been tested for COVID-19 and received a positive result.You have been less than 6 feet away from a confirmed COVID-19 case for 15 minutes or more (with or without a mask).
Please answer the phone if you see a phone number associated with a University or Health Department. Also remember to check your voicemail regularly.
 
Remember: Your name will be kept confidential. The contact tracer(s) will not reveal your name or other personal information to any of your contacts
1. Contact tracers will ask you a series of questions about your illness. For example, if you have or had any symptoms, the date you began feeling ill, if you were tested, etc.


2. They will also ask questions about who you have had close contact with before you began feeling ill (including household members, family, friends, neighbors, etc).


3.   Listen to the contact tracer, they may have specific guidance for you to follow.

Here is additional guidance to remember:

 Self-isolate for 10 days after you received your positive test result.

 Stay home in a specific room away from other people and pets in your home and use a separate bathroom, if possible. For more information about what to do if someone in your household is sick, visit this link.

Maintain physical distancing from others and wear a cloth face covering regardless if you are showing symptoms or not.

 Monitor your symptoms of COVID-19 and if your symptoms become severe (trouble breathing, persistent pain or chest pressure, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face), seek medical care.

Remember some COVID-19 cases do not show any symptoms but may still be contagious

1. The contact tracer will make you aware that you were listed as a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19.     
Be sure to listen to the contact tracer, they may have specific guidance for you to follow.

2.     Stay home and self-quarantine (this means staying away from others) for 14 days starting from the last day you were exposed to COVID-19 (the contact tracer can help you identify the dates of your self-quarantine and provide resources about COVID-19 testing in your area).

3.     Maintain physical distancing from others and wear a cloth face covering regardless if you are showing symptoms or not.

4.     Take your temperature twice a day and watch for symptoms of COVID-19

5.     If you begin to show symptoms, get tested for COVID-19. You should also remember that many COVID-19 cases do not show any symptoms of the virus but may still be contagious.

6.     Seek medical care if your symptoms become severe (trouble breathing, persistent pain or chest pressure, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face.

7.     Since contact tracing may take time to reach your contacts, you should also notify your close contacts that you are a contact of someone who tested positive so that they can self-quarantine and monitor any symptoms.
For more information about what to expect if a contact tracer calls, visit this link.

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