What Is Contact Tracing
Contact tracing is an important disease control measure to prevent further spread of COVID-19. This process begins when members of the contact tracing team ask individuals who are diagnosed with COVID-19 about people with whom they had contact while they may have been infectious. The team then notifies these people (‘contacts’) about their potential exposure without revealing the identity of the person diagnosed with COVID-19. The team provides contacts with guidance on how to take care of themselves and prevent transmission to other people.
What to Expect with Yale’s COVID-19 Contact Tracing Program
To optimize the safety of the campus environment, Yale has implemented a campus-based contact tracing program. Here is what you can expect if you are a member of the Yale community and you test positive for COVID-19.
1. Prior to contact tracing, you will be notified of your test result.
If you are tested by Yale, either at Yale Health or through a campus-based screening program, you will be notified of the test result and given appropriate guidance. You will also be informed that the Yale Contact Tracing Team will call you for a contact tracing interview. If you are tested outside of Yale and inform your supervisor, your supervisor should call the Campus COVID Resource Line (203-432-6604) to notify them of your test result. You may also call the Campus COVID Resource Line anytime for guidance. Through either of these mechanisms, the Yale Contact Tracing Team will be notified, and a member of the team will call you for a contact tracing interview.
2. Next, the Yale Contact Tracing Team will call you for a contact tracing interview.
Our goal is to call you within 24 hours of your test result. You will be asked about your close contacts during the time you were infectious (2 days prior to symptom onset or 2 days prior to testing if you are asymptomatic). According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of you for 15 minutes for more. We will ask about people who meet this definition, such as co-workers and other members of the Yale community (staff, faculty, students) with whom you had contact outside of the workplace. We will also ask about your household contacts. During this interview, you may ask questions, and you will be referred to additional resources as needed.
The Yale Contact Tracing Team will also notify low-risk contacts. These are people who spent time in an enclosed shared workspace during the infectious period but do not meet the definition of a close contact.
We realize that you may also have community-based contacts, meaning contacts beyond the Yale campus. You may receive a call from your local health department for community-based contact tracing. These contacts should be notified by their local health department. The Yale Contact Tracing Team will not ask you about community-based contacts, but the team will encourage you to notify any community-based contacts of the exposure and to let them know they should call their primary care provider or the city’s hotline (2-1-1) if they have questions or concerns.
3. Finally, close and low-risk contacts will be notified by the Yale Contact Tracing Team.
Your identity will not be revealed to any contacts. Close contacts will be encouraged to self-quarantine (stay home and maintain social distancing) for 14 days after their last exposure. All contacts (close and low-risk) will be asked to check their temperature twice daily and watch for other COVID-19 symptoms such as cough or shortness of breath. Contacts who develop symptoms should promptly isolate themselves and call their primary care provider or the Campus COVID Resource Line (203-432-6604). All contacts will be offered a COVID-19 screening test through Employee Health.