Contact Tracing

Contact tracing is critical to our community's ability to continue limiting the spread of COVID-19. People who participate in contact tracing are actively helping to keep their community safe by helping public health officials track the virus. 

Contact tracing involves educating people who are sick so they understand why they need to isolate, making sure those people have what they need to stay isolated, and identifying additional people who may have been exposed.

Patient Care and Isolation

  • The first step is to help a person who is sick understand why they need to isolate and find out what Public Health can do to help them stay isolated until 72 hours after their fever and cough have stopped without the aid of medication.
  • Sometimes people need a place to stay, food, or even help with basic tasks. Helping with those needs is part of what Public Health does during contact tracing.

Investigation

  • The next step is to identify everyone a sick person may have come into contact with and accidentally exposed to COVID-19.
  • These are people the sick person was around for up to 48 hours before they started feeling sick and while they were symptomatic.
  • “Exposure” means within 6 feet for 15 minutes or longer.

Monitoring

  • Public Health contacts each individual who was exposed to COVID-19 by the sick person. They educate them about why they are being contacted, find out if they are feeling sick, and then recommend that they stay home and away from other people (quarantine) for 14 days.
  • During this time, the person is advised to watch for symptoms and take their temperature twice a day.
  • Persons Under Monitoring (PUMs) are contacted every day by Public Health during their 14-day monitoring period.

Do you keep my information private?

Yes. Your medical information is protected by HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). All staff and volunteers who are serving as contact tracers have received HIPPA training. Information collected during contact tracing is stored on secure servers that are only accessible to approved Public Health officials.

We will also not identify you as a possible exposure point when we call your potential contacts. They may be able to make an educated guess, but Lane County will not confirm that information. You may choose to identify yourself to your contacts if you prefer.

What questions do you ask during a contact interview?

When a contact tracer reaches out to a potential contact, they will ask several questions to confirm your identity (name, date of birth, address). They will also ask for information regarding your gender and ethnicity, as well as your workplace.

Contact tracers will also ask if you’ve had any COVID-19 symptoms, including fever, cough, shortness of breath and others. If so, they will ask when you first began feeling sick and for how long.

Finally, contact tracers will ask whether you need help accessing resources during your quarantine.

Lane County and its contact tracers will not ask for your social security number, banking details or financial information. There will be no requests for payment. If you are contacted by someone who tells you they are a contact tracer, but asks for this kind of information please do not provide that information.

Lane County and its contact tracers will not ask for your immigration status and will not share information with immigration authorities or law enforcement. The information gathered will be used only by public health officials.

What if I need to quarantine but I don’t have anyone to help bring me groceries?

If you are asked to quarantine yourself for 14 days and you need help accessing resources, Lane County Public Health will provide a case manager who will coordinate with area non-profits and organizations to help.

Assistance with groceries, prescription pick-up, and infection prevention supplies (e.g., thermometers) is available, as well as filing for unemployment, applying for health insurance, applying for utility assistance, and more.

Lane County is also able to provide a safe place for unhoused community members to isolate at its COVID-19 Recovery Center on River Avenue in Eugene.

COVID-19 Information -

Find updates and information in English and Español

www.lanecounty.org/coronavirus