Covid NJ: The Basics of Contact Tracing


If you have been in close contact with someone who has COVID-19, a contact tracer from the health department might contact you to inform you that you’ve been exposed to COVID-19.

For COVID-19, a close contact is defined as anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes starting from 48 hours before the person began feeling sick until the time the patient was isolated.

Contact tracing is used by health departments to prevent the spread of infectious disease. In general, contact tracing involves identifying people who have an infectious disease (cases) and their contacts (people who may have been exposed) and working with them to interrupt disease transmission. For COVID-19, this includes asking cases to isolate and contacts to quarantine at home voluntarily.

You are considered a close contact even if you were wearing a face covering while you were around someone with COVID-19. Face coverings are meant to prevent transmitting disease, not for protection from becoming infected.

Contact tracing for COVID-19 typically involves:
* Interviewing people with COVID-19 to identify everyone with whom they had close contact during the time they may have been infectious,
* Notifying contacts of their potential exposure,
* Referring contacts for testing,
* Monitoring contacts for signs and symptoms of COVID-19, and
* Connecting contacts with services they might need during the self-quarantine period.
* If you need to be around other people or animals in or outside of the home, wear a cloth face covering. This will help protect the people around you.
* Self-quarantine means staying home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times until 14 days after their last exposure to a person with COVID-19.

The contact tracer will help identify the dates of your self-quarantine, and also provide resources about COVID-19 testing in your area.

Contacts should monitor themselves by checking their temperature twice daily and watching for symptoms of COVID-19: fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, sore throat, muscle pain, shivering, headache, or new loss of taste or smell.

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