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All Middlesex County buildings will remain closed to the general public until further notice due to COVID-19. Only select County services are available on an appointment basis.
September 23, 2021 County Commissioner Meeting Notice: Due to the severe weather warning the meeting will now take place virtually; click here for more details.

What is Contact Tracing and How Does it Help?

Contact 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.

Contact 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.

Here is how it works:

  • When 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 symptom appeared.
  • Contact 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.
  • 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, 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.

Contact tracing combined with education and testing is crucial to break the chain of transmission of infectious diseases like COVID-19.


Privacy Concerns

Middlesex 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. 

If you 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. 

Remember - 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 investigation.


What to Expect

If it 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 information.

Please 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.

Public 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.

The contact tracers will not identify the name of the case but will advise contacts about their potential exposure.


Remember, the contact tracer’s job is to provide education, information, and support to help people:

  • Understand their risk
  • Know what they should do to separate themselves from others who are not exposed
  • Monitor themselves for illness
  • Avoid spreading the infection to others even if they themselves do not feel ill   
By working together with our office and contact tracing program, you can help reduce the spread of illness within the community.


For more information and resources about contact tracing, visit:


Looking for more COVID-19 information here in Middlesex County?  

Click on an icon below to jump to the section you need, click here to return to the COVID-19 home page​,

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Looking for more information? From Government Information and Resources to Activities and Assistance available in Middlesex County, visit

Click here to ask a 
COVID-19 related question. 

Find the latest news, guidance, resources, and support at the official COVID-19 Information Hub for the State of New Jersey here.​

Office of Health Services
35 Kennedy Blvd
East Brunswick, NJ 08816
Hours: 8:30 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.

After Hours: 732-745-3271
(This number is for the Sheriff's office, which will then connect you to the appropriate on-call staff)​​

For more information, click on one of our partners:

CDC's website for COVID-19

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