COVID-19 Contact Tracing - Fact Sheet

by Placerville Newswire / May 21, 2020 / comments

[El Dorado County District V Supervisor, Sue Novasel]

El Dorado County Public Health uses a proven public health tool called contact tracing to help slow and contain the spread of infectious diseases. We are using contact tracing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in El Dorado County.

Contact tracing is a method used to find and follow up with people who have been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19 (called a case). People who were around the case, potentially exposed to COVID-19, are called contacts. By tracing the contacts of COVID-19 cases, getting them into quarantine, and when necessary, testing them for infection, we can slow the spread of coronavirus.

• In contact tracing, public health staff works with a patient to help them recall everyone with whom they have had close contact during the timeframe while they may have been infectious.

• To protect patient privacy, contacts are only informed that they may have been exposed to a patient with the infection. They are not told the identity of the patient who may have exposed them.

• Contacts are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk, what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill.

• Contact tracing, a core disease control measure employed by local and state health department personnel for decades, is a key strategy for preventing further spread of COVID-19.

• Identifying contacts in a timely manner to ensure they do not interact with others is critical to protect communities from further spread.

• El Dorado County anticipates being able to handle contact tracing efforts both at present and in the long term solely with public health staff.

• El Dorado County appreciates the support of the community as they offer to assist with contact tracing, however; we are not seeking volunteers to be trained in contact tracing at this time.