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What is Contact Tracing

If a student or staff member in the building tests positive for COVID-19 your student may be asked questions about close contacts by a school administrator or Portage County Health nurse. Here is some information about contact tracing. This occurs to help us contain and stop the spread of the virus.

What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a disease control measure to identify persons who may have been exposed to an infectious disease (COVID-19, Flu, etc.) and alert their close contacts of their exposure.

 Why is contact tracing done?

The goal of contact tracing is to help prevent the further spread of infection, to identify hotspots of infection, and to protect friends, families and communities from potential infection.

How is contact tracing done?

Trained health department staff work with persons diagnosed with COVID-19 to help them recall everyone who they had close contact with while they were infectious. Health department staff will notify person(s) who may have been exposed (contacts) as quickly as possible to prevent additional spread of the disease.

 How will contacts be notified?

A Portage County Health Department staff member will notify the contact by phone that they may have been exposed to COVID-19, provide information on symptoms, resources and encourage them to self-quarantine, if needed to prevent the spread of the disease.

What are contacts asked to do?

Contacts must stay at home and maintain social distancing (at least 6 feet) from others they live with, until 14 days after the last known exposure. Contacts should self-monitor for symptoms, avoid contact with high-risk persons, and take temperature if these symptoms develop:

  • Fever (at least 100.4°F)
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath of difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headache
  • New loss of taste or smell
  • Sore throat
  • Congestion or runny nose
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Diarrhea

If contacts develop symptoms, they should seek medical care if needed, or call 911 if there is a medical emergency.

What will be said to my close contacts about me?

Identified contacts will be told they were potentially exposed. They will be asked questions about their symptoms in relation to COVID-19. Contacts will receive information about how to monitor symptoms through the monitoring tool, and information about what to do if they become sick.

 How has contact tracing been used previously?

Contact tracing was used during the 2014 Ebola virus outbreak, as well as in the SARS outbreak in 2003. Contact tracing is also used to combat measles and tuberculosis.