Everything You Need to Know about Contact Tracing
Have you received a call stating that you were around someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and you need to self isolate? If you have, or you know someone who has, this is called contact tracing. Below, we are going to discuss everything you need to know about it.
Related: 30 Items You Need to Survive a Pandemic
What is Contact Tracing?
Contact tracing is essentially detective work. Experts have to break down the chains of transmission to manage epidemics and pandemics to prevent future waves or surges of cases. It helps us to get back to work and live a normal way of life much quicker.
As soon as a contact tracer finds out someone is positive for a virus or infection, those people are isolated and kept away from other people. Then, the contact tracer works on a spider web of other people that had been in contact with that person over a certain period of time.
Basically, contact tracing is finding out everyone a person who has tested positive for a virus has been around. Two critical factors in contact tracing for Coronavirus is finding the infected people and then locating the people they could have infected and let them know of their exposure.
Contact tracing has actually been done a number of times for different infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis and HIV.
How Did They Get My Name and Number?
The contact tracers will get your name from a person who has tested positive. They may also get your phone number from that person as well. Or, they will use your name to find your number and call you.
When they call you, they can’t tell you who was positive. They can only tell you that you were around someone who tested positive for the coronavirus.
What Questions Will I Get Asked
When you are called for contact tracing, the ONLY questions you will be asked is to verify your identity and if you are having or have had any symptoms. Contact tracers will NOT ask for any financial or other personal information.
Is the Contact Tracing Call Legit?
Because people like to take advantage of others and rip people off anyway they can, there are scammers out there trying to get other information as well as money. If you get a call and the person tries to sign you up for a test you have to pay for or tries to get your credit card information, it is a scam.
The LEGIT text message or phone call you will get will be from the State Department of Health. In some states, you will get a text message first that says they are trying to reach you about an important matter regarding your health and to call a certain number. You may want to look up the phone number for YOUR State Department of Health so you know if it is legit.
Additionally, if you are unsure of a number, you can simply type the number into the Google search box and see what pops up. If it is not a State Department of Health number, do not call back.
For more information on avoiding contact tracing scammers, visit the Federal Trade Commision Consumer Information.
Do I Have to Self Isolate?
Even though you may not have any symptoms at all, you will be asked to quarantine yourself for 14-days, as well as monitor your symptoms. The reason they will ask you to quarantine is that with any infectious disease, people can infect others before they start experiencing symptoms themselves. So, to make sure you don’t infect others, you are asked to stay home.
Will I Get More Contact Tracing Calls?
After your first initial contact, you will get contacted daily either by email or phone for the duration of the 14-days. This is to assess your signs and symptoms for a certain time period. In many states, if you get a text and do not respond, you will then be contacted by a phone call.
Will I Need to Get Tested?
If you develop symptoms, you will be asked to get tested. Obviously, nobody can make you get a test if you don’t want to. However, in some states, they are holding people to the quarantine policies. It may be in your best interest to get tested.
If you take a test and test positive, you will be asked to self isolate in your home. Anyone who is in your home will be considered a close contact and will be expected to quarantine too. In addition, you may be asked to give names of people you have been around for contact tracing.
If you test negative, you will probably still be asked to quarantine for the full 14-days.
Is Contact Tracing on My Phone?
There are new mobile contact tracing technologies that are aimed at minimizing the spread of COVID-19. There are many claims flying around Facebook that Google has automatically updated all Android devices with a tracing app.
However, even though the apps have been installed on your phone, you must opt in to use them. The apps use a new technology to track other users who are in the proximity of someone for at least 5-minutes who has tested positive for the virus using Bluetooth technology. Again, participation in this app is completely voluntary.
To clarify, Apple and Google did recently add exposure notifications to devices under settings, however, the contact tracing technology works only if the person opts in and enables the notifications. Additionally, Apple and Google have both said that privacy is an essential part of the contact tracing technology.
How it Works
With your consent, if you test positive for COVID-19, anyone who was near you in the last 14-days will be notified on their smartphone that they have potentially been exposed. The notification will read as follows: “You have recently come into contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19. Tap for more information.”
Obviously, the effectiveness of this technology greatly depends on who opts in and who doesn’t. So, even if you do opt-in, someone around you that contacted the virus may not have opted in, and therefore, you will not be notified.
Public health officials believe that contact tracing is one of the best ways to stop the spread of the novel Coronavirus. They have decided this is better than asking us to stay home indefinitely. However, some of us value our privacy and don’t want to be contacted if we were around people with the virus. If you want to remain out of the contact tracing agenda, here are some things you can do:
- Ask anyone you are around to not give out your name to anyone regardless of testing positive for coronavirus.
- Be sure you did not opt into the contact tracing app. Go to settings, then Google (Google settings), and then click on COVID-19 exposure notifications and make sure it says “OFF.”
- Stay away from people as much as you can. The best way to stay under the radar is to not be around other people.
Related: Pandemics: What You Should Do Now
Remember, wash your hands, don’t touch your face, and always prepare for the worst and hope for the best! May God bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: COVID Contact Tracing Deposit photos_377044418_s-2019
14 thoughts on “Everything You Need to Know about Contact Tracing”
I wonder seriously, at this late stage in the pandemic, would contact tracing really do anyone any good. You could have walked by an infected stranger in a store and you would not know their name or contact information or vice versa. I see the same people all the time and still, it’s not like we hug or spend time in closed rooms, touching each others things. We just talk and have very little contact of any kind. We even stand about 6 feet apart.
I will add, I don’t trust Bill Gates. He has no business being involved in all this as he’s a computer nerd, not a Doctor or scientist and I think he’s just looking to make more money and to seat himself among the elitist who want to turn the United States into a socialist country. His personal desire for the spotlight and position is what drives him, not the well being of Americans.
Hi Frank, I totally agree with you on everything in your comment. Amen, my friend! Linda
Frank and Linda~~
I also do not trust Gates. I no longer have any microsoft products. I used to be a big supporter but since COVID-19 and his hand in running things, I want no part in any of it. There are a few others I am not fond of as well.
As for contact tracing, I don’t go many places – grocery store and the pharmacy. Oh the local farm stand for fruit and veggies but otherwise, I have been staying home for the last 4 months!! It is starting to get to me though. In fact, I haven’t been anywhere for the last 2 weeks – I mean not even the grocery store!!
If I were to get a call saying I was possibly exposed, I wouldn’t have to do anything differently than I do now. But I did check my phone!! Thanks.
Hi Leanne, my sister called me and said one of her friends got a phone call saying she was exposed and wanted her credit card number!! What a SCAM! I’m with you, I am not fond of a lot of people, not just Gates. I’m not sure who to trust anymore. YIKES! Linda
Leanne, um, are you saying that if you got info that you had been directly exposed, you wouldn’t try to get tested? And, yea, maybe try to change your number of contacts while waiting for results (and this could require 2 tests)? If I got a call, I would get a test, then also call anyone I’d been around, even if we practiced care. I would self-isolate until I got back a third negative test. Yes, I might even have to order things online, lol, but hey, I got enough of basics to stand me at least a month or more. Sure, we can get exposed at a store but I’d hate for my friends/family to become asymptomatic, then just keep passing it on, when I could help prevent this, even a little. My state is not hit hard, but we just now got a mask mandate. Why? So we don’t Get hit hard this late in the game. And our health dept figures it will take about a month for mandated mask wearing to show a slowdown. Contact tracing is just another tool.
Wendy, yes I would get tested. But the reality of my life right now is that my contact with people is so limited that I don’t think I would be exposed. That is, of course, if all the “science” is wrong about everyone’s use of masks and social distancing.
For the past 4 weeks, I have not been within a dozen feet of anyone without a mask and me with a mask. I follow all the protocol of washing my hands, masks (homemade) and stay home and away from situations that might put me in harm’s way. The only places I have been in the 4 months has been an occasional trip to the grocery store about every 2 – 3 weeks, the pharmacy once in the last 4 months and the local farm stand once a month.
What I was saying, however, is that I don’t go places that take names and numbers like restaurants and such so it is highly likely that a call would most likely be a scam. But, I would contact my doctor and get her recommendation regarding testing since I am considered high risk. My doctor has told me that if I stay home and away from people, the chances of exposure are significantly reduced.
I also consider this: – masks or not – I think of it as everyone has COVID-19 and simply stay away if at all possible.
I go out very little but this is an insidious virus. If someone I’ve had contact with is positive, I’d Really like to know this (and I understand the need for privacy, so no name is fine.) This allows me to make an appt to get tested, symptoms or not. In my state, there are 2 ways to get a test: have symptoms or have been exposed to a known case. One thing I’ve been doing for the last couple months is keeping a log of where I go to shop, if there’s someone I know with whom I visit while shopping (I always wear a mask but many don’t so I write that down too), anyone who visits at my house, …it gets tedious but if ever I get it, I want people to know I could have potentially spread it to them. Frankly, I wouldn’t even mind named contacted individuals knowing that I was a carrier. We need to mitigate this thangs spread and contact tracing can help, if people then isolate, test. This thing is becoming more rampant simply due to asymptomatic people. We can’t test everyone, get same day results, but contact tracing could reduce the spread dramatically. And, yes, hand washing, social distancing and mask wearing have their part too.
Hi Wendy, it’s really frustrating and expensive (unless you want to wait 5-7 days) at least where my daughter lives in California. She had one roommate test positive (all 4 roommates got sick within a day of each other). One roommate tested positive and she and the other two tested negative at the same testing center. One day after, one of the roommates got even sicker and went and got tested again ($99.00 each test) and was positive. So my daughter and the other roommate went and got tested again $99.00 each and they were negative again. They did the $99.00 test because they could get tested that day and get the results via email with 48 hours. If they didn’t get the test showing negative they could not go back to work. This is so expensive for those who are out of work already but need income to pay their rent and feed themselves. All the roommates wear masks and have Clorox wipes everywhere. So frustrating. Are the test REALLY accurate, I don’t know. Good idea on the log. We may all wish we had flip-phones. Stay well, Linda
Linda, crazy stuff, isn’t it? Like all 4 were sick but only 2 ended up positive? Meanwhile the 2 negatives could go back to work, right? Sometimes I wonder if this thing isn’t a bit like strep. Like, there’s symptoms but an initial test can be negative, but they keep growing in a Petri dish, and golly, 3 days later, a positive result! Meanwhile, that person can spread it. I question the effectiveness of these ‘fast’ tests but 2 days isn’t That fast for $99! and, yet it’s not enough for strep. We know this dang thing has a long incubation time. Also, like strep, no matter how much exposure, especially while using safety measures, not everybody in a household will get it. But, strep transmission can be stopped within a day of starting antibiotics. The last time one of my kids got strep, we all 4 got antibiotics and were told to stay home until 24 hours after our first pill, so as to not spread it. Easy peasy. We weren’t even tested. But this Thang? Your daughter may have it but the positive may not show up unless she does the longer-time test. Meanwhile, she’s paid $200, maybe $300 if she did a third test. Linda, it makes me very angry that she’s had to pay this (as did her 2 positive roommates), faced time off work, could have spread it to others if she has it and went back to work…and, yea, that is what most people would have to do. I hope your daughter and her roomies make it thru this with no long term effects. Peace, Linda, my prayers are sent to your family.
Hi Wendy, they waited out the 14 days quarantine because of their roommates. It’s funny you should mention strep. I said to my daughter, I wonder if YOU have strep. Someone told her you can’t get strep in the summer. As a mom, I said, hmmm. But I thought to myself, Strep can occur in any season. But oh well, I’m not there and let it slide. She lives in California where COVID is rampant. The governor has shut down the state again. More people out of work, something is off in my mind about this whole deal. Now, Nora O’Donnell announced someone is saying we need to wear face masks in our house. WHAT?? I’m not sure what to think anymore. Linda
I’m so glad I have stuck with a flip phone (not just for this situation)! If flip phones are ever discontinued, I’ll just do without entirely and just have the land-line. And since the signal tends to be iffy out here (I can usually go up to the chicken coop, that works!) the phone is often not even in my pocket.
Hi Rhonda, I thought it was Wendy who had a flip-phone. Oh well, we may all give up our phones!! Your landline will still work! Linda
Regarding Bill Gates: The man is on record in a TED talk that I listened too saying we must achieve zero population growth by either 2040 or 2050 or we will outgrow our planets ability to sustain life. He further stated that his “vaccine” would help achieve that goal. My first thought was how would a vaccine created to save lives help achieve zero population growth? Then the other shoe dropped. Sterilization. The vaccine will sterilize a certain percentage of the population. Won’t matter to me as I’m in my 70’s now, but my Grandchildren might not like that at all.
Hi Ray, I saw that Ted Talk as well!!! OH my gosh, I need to go find that Ted Talk again. I turned 70 this year, my friend, we are in the same boat. The the population, I need to find that link. Linda