So, you’ve got to wear a mask and physically distance yourself from others. You may be thinking, What next?  

Well, someone who is infected with COVID-19 may or may not show symptoms, making it tough for you to know when you’re in the clear. If you’ve been in contact with a sick person, a public health worker may call you to inform you that you’ve been exposed to a confirmed case. 

Because of this, it’s important that you answer to contact tracers. Their calls may often appear as a “Blocked” or “Unknown” number. Contact tracers will ask you for your personal information like your name, place of residence, and birthday. However, they will never ask for your credit card or social security number—these are scams, so don’t fall for them. 

Here’s what else you need to know about contact tracing and how it’s important for you and others. 

Know the Lingo 

Contact Tracing: Public health staff begin contact tracing by notifying exposed people (contacts) of their potential exposure as rapidly and sensitively as possible to not reveal the infected patient’s identity 

Case Investigation: Public health staff work with a patient to help them recall everyone theyve had close contact with during the time they may have been infectious.  

Contact Support: Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to help them understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who aren’t exposed, and how to monitor themselves for illness. In addition, theyre informed of the possibility that they can spread the infection to others even if they don’t feel ill. 

Self-Quarantine: Contacts are encouraged to stay home, monitor their health, and maintain physical distance of at least six feet from others until 14 days after their last exposure to the original infected person. 

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, it isn’t the end of the world. A public health worker may call you to check-in on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask where you spent time while you may have been infectious.   

Please keep this information in mind going forward because we can’t end the COVID-19 pandemic if we don’t work together. 


– Amy Nelson ’19