COVID-19 Contact Tracing: What To Expect If You Get A Call

Please take the call.

Gov. Phil Murphy urged New Jerseyans Friday to pick up the phone if called by a contact tracer.

“Work with our contact tracers. We cannot get ahead of this virus if you don’t,” Murphy said. “They’re not on a witch hunt.”

If you test positive for COVID-19, in addition to providing you with support, the lab that tested you loads your test data onto the State’s secure epidemiological surveillance system called the Communicable Disease Reporting and Surveillance System (CDRSS).

Your positive case is then shared with your Local Health Department, who will call you to determine close contacts that you may have spread the virus to.

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.

Your information is confidential. Your name will not be released to your contacts or your COVID-19 status.

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.

Montclair Health Department staff members make the calls for case investigations and contact tracing. The department will occasionally reach out to the state for state-hired contact tracers on weekends.

There have been incidents of COVID-19 contact tracing scams. Contact tracers will never ask for a social security number, bank or credit card information, immigration status or other confidential financial information. Calls that seem suspicious should be reported to the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs.

According to Montclair Health Department Director Sue Portuese, the contact tracer identifies him/herself as a representative of the local health department and leaves a message if no one answers. Caseworkers’ phone numbers are not published, however, if you are unsure about the identity of the caller, you can contact the Health Department for verification.

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