Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease like COVID-19 and investigating those people, and those who they may have contacted, to stop the spread of that illness.
Contact tracers work with individuals to make a list of people with whom they may have interacted while they were potentially contagious.
Contact tracers then contact the people on the list, provide them guidance on next steps and begin asking questions. They may ask where a person works, where they have visited, where they obtained food or other supplies, and with whom they may have met. If that person has interacted with others, the process starts again.
Those being investigated play a key role in the effort to prevent further spread of illness. Those that are exposed will be asked to self-quarantine themselves and to monitor the progression of symptoms. Because the ultimate goal is to stop the spread of illness, the more detail and honesty provided, the better the investigation.
To protect privacy, confidentiality is always maintained throughout the contact tracing process. Contact tracers will never ask for Social Security Numbers, financial information or other unnecessary personal details.