If you’ve been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you may be contacted by a contact tracer or public health worker from your state or local health department in an effort to help slow the spread of the disease. Here’s what to know if you get a call:
- A contact tracer may call to let you know you may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. All information you share with a contact tracer, like who you’ve been in contact with and your recent whereabouts, is confidential.
- You may be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. This means staying home, monitoring your health, and maintaining social distance from others at all times.
- You may be asked to monitor your health and watch for symptoms of COVID-19. Notify your doctor if you develop symptoms, and seek medical care if your symptoms worsen or become severe.
Answer the phone call from the health department. If someone from the health department calls you, answer the call to help slow the spread of COVID-19 in your community.
- Discussions with health department staff are confidential. This means that your personal and medical information will be kept private and only shared with those who may need to know, like your health care provider.
- Your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with. The health department will only notify people you were in close contact with (within 6 feet for more than 15 minutes) that they might have been exposed to COVID-19.
Tell the health department staff if you develop symptoms of COVID-19. If your symptoms worsen or become severe, you should seek emergency medical care.
Be Scam Aware
Be aware of scammers pretending to be COVID-19 contact tracers. Legitimate contact tracers will never ask for your Medicare Number or financial information.
Real contact tracers will tell you you’ve been exposed, ask about any symptoms, listen to you, help you get tested for free, and tell you to quarantine for two weeks.
They may also offer to deliver groceries and medicine during your quarantine. Real contact tracers also will be texting you for two weeks to ask about your health and symptoms. They have real help to offer and specific information to share.
Local, state and federal health department staff will not ask you for these items:
- Money or charge you for tests
- Social Security number
- Bank account information
- Salary information
- Credit card numbers
If someone calls and asks for personal information, like your Medicare Number, hang up and report it at 1-800-MEDICARE. You can also report the call to the Nevada State Attorney General’s office: ag.nv.gov.
Contact Tracing In Nevada
In Nevada, contact tracing is part of a three-pronged plan including comprehensive community-based testing, laboratory analysis, and contact tracing plan to support local, statewide, and tribal efforts to reopen and support the Nevada economy.
Contact tracing is part of the process of supporting patients with COVID-19 infection and each person who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be in contact with public health staff to identify those they interacted with during their infectious period. Public health staff then contact those individuals to inform them of the potential exposure as rapidly and sensitively as possible. Through contact tracing, patients are given information and resources to help them protect their health, and the health of others, and is a key part of Nevada’s COVID-19 response.
Nevada has utilized the National Guard to support community testing, laboratory operations, and contact tracing/COVID mapping efforts. In addition to the Guard, the Nevada Systems of Higher Education (NSHE) is working across the state in all institutions to offer a uniform training in contact tracing. Additionally, NSHE will develop a workforce of students, faculty, staff, and volunteers ready to support Nevada’s state, local, and tribal public health agencies to meet the case investigation and provide contact tracing services. This workforce will not only address the immediate needs related to COVID-19 but will be an ongoing resource to Nevada for communicable disease investigation.
Case identification and contact tracing are the foundation of communicable disease prevention and control. For the COVID-19 response, this process will provide an essential tool to understand clusters and respond appropriately and timely to minimize future cases and outbreaks.
More information on Nevada’s COVID-19 response can be found at nvhealthresponse.nv.gov.