Alexandria Health Department: Steps for COVID-19 Contact Tracing

Page archived as of October 1, 2020

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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