tracing is a public health tool used to identify those who come into contact
with people who have tested positive for many infectious diseases – such as
measles and tuberculosis. Contact tracing is a public health activity that
involves working with a person who has been diagnosed with an infectious
disease (case) to identify and provide support to people (contacts) who may
have been infected through exposure to the case.
tracing is not new. Public health has relied on contact tracing as a tool to
reduce the spread of disease in communities for many years. Contact
tracing goes hand in hand with testing. It is part of the process of supporting
patients with suspected or confirmed infection.
how it works:
you test positive for COVID-19, your test data is put into the State's secure epidemiological surveillance system called the
Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System (CDRSS).
- Positive cases are then shared with the local health department, who will call you to determine close contacts that you may
have spread the virus to. Please note - a close contact is anyone who was
within six feet of you for more than 10 minutes at least two days before your
positive test if you didn't have any symptoms, or two days before your first
tracers will then get in touch with your contacts to recommend next steps like
self-quarantining and to share resources about how those people can get
tested. NOTE: Your information is
confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts nor will your
COVID-19 status be discussed with others.
are provided with education, information, and support to understand their risk,
what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed, how
they should monitor themselves for illness, and the possibility that they could
spread the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill.
tracing combined with education and testing is crucial to break the chain of
transmission of infectious diseases like COVID-19.
County Contact Tracers complete a comprehensive training before they can make
calls to the public. In addition to
learning how to use the State's secure epidemiological surveillance system, the
tracers learn about interview skills, ethics, and patient privacy.
have concerns that the person calling is not a real contact tracer, feel free to request the name and ID of anyone who calls, hang
up and call the Middlesex County Office of Health Services at
732-745-3100. Select “option 2” to speak
to a nurse, who will be able to verify that the person that called you is a
trained Middlesex County Contact Tracer.
- Contact tracers will not ask for social security numbers, bank or credit card
information, health insurance information, immigration status, or criminal history.
Public health contact tracers take privacy and confidentiality seriously. Your
personal health information is not shared outside of the public health
is believed that you are a contact of someone who has been identified as
positive with COVID-19, a public health contact tracer will contact you by
phone. The call would come from a person legitimately working with a local
health department. The contact tracer will provide follow-up resources and
assure you of your privacy. A contact tracer will never ask for information
such as your social security number, bank account or credit card, or insurance
Note - Hoax text messages regarding contact tracing are also circulating in NJ.
This is a scam designed to steal your personal information. Never click on
links in messages (texts or emails) from people you do not know.
health contact tracers will ask you about symptoms that may be COVID-19
related. They will ask about locations that you might have visited over the
last few days, and if anyone living with you with was tested for COVID-19 or
has symptoms. The tracers will advise if
need to self-isolate and might recommend testing.
contact tracers will not identify the name of the case but will advise contacts
about their potential exposure.
the contact tracer’s job is to provide education, information, and support to
By working together with our office and contact tracing program, you can help reduce the spread of illness within the community.
what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed
themselves for illness
spreading the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill
more information and resources about contact tracing, visit: