Alexandria Health Department: Steps for COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Page updated on Jul 20, 2020 at 7:47 PM

Do your part, answer the call!

Case investigation and contact tracing only work when people like you participate. You can help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community by answering calls from the Health Department or by calling back after receiving a voicemail. Your neighbors and loved ones are counting on you.

Learn more about the process that may result in a call to you.

1

Labs & Health Care Providers Report COVID-19 Cases to the Health Department

Labs and healthcare providers report COVID-19 “cases” to the Alexandria Health Department (AHD). After getting these reports, AHD starts their “Case Investigation” and “Contact Tracing.”

2

Interview Case

AHD contacts the person with COVID-19 and asks about:

  • Symptoms and when they started
  • People who have been within 6 feet for 15 minutes or more, starting from 48 hours before symptoms started--these people are the case’s close contacts
  • Health conditions that may make them more likely to get very sick
  • Living conditions that make them more likely to expose others like crowded housing
  • Basic needs such as food or cleaning supplies that someone may need while staying home
3

Advise Case

AHD asks the person to:

  • Avoid close contact with others (isolation period) until they are not contagious
  • Follow guidelines for household cleaning and personal hygiene (e.g., hand washing)
  • Monitor their COVID-19 symptoms
  • Treat minor symptoms with over the counter medications
  • Seek help from a healthcare provider if symptoms get worse (and call ahead first!)
  • Wear a mask if it is necessary to leave home
4

Interview Close Contacts

Next, AHD reaches out to the case’s close contacts. The close contact is told (while keeping the case’s information confidential) that they have been exposed to a person with COVID-19. AHD works with the person to assess their risk of getting sick. Risk is based on:

  • Time and closeness of the contact with the case
  • Type of contact, such as physical contact or body fluid exchange
  • Any additional factors like the contact’s occupation
5

Advise Close Contacts to Case

AHD asks the close contact to:

  • Stay at home for at least 14 days from the last date they were in close contact with the case (quarantine period)
  • Follow guidelines for household cleaning and personal hygiene such as hand washing
  • Monitor their COVID-19 symptoms
  • Treat minor symptoms with over the counter medications
  • Seek help from a healthcare provider if symptoms get worse (and call ahead first!)
  • Wear a mask if it is necessary to leave home
6

Monitor Cases and Close Contacts at Higher Risk

AHD regularly contacts cases and close contacts at higher risk of getting sick. AHD will:

  • Ask if symptoms have gotten better, worse, or stopped
  • Identify problems they may have while isolated or in quarantine
  • Offer City resources to support them
  • Assess their readiness to be released from quarantine or isolation
7

Release from Restrictions

Release from isolation or quarantine is based on length of time, when symptoms end, and other factors. Note: AHD does not provide “return to work/school notes”

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