How To Talk To Your Close Contacts
It’s important for you to tell your close contacts that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 so they can quarantine, get tested, and wear a well-fitting mask. If they are infected, they could spread COVID-19 starting 2 days before they have any symptoms or test positive. By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect them and everyone around them. Recommendations for close contacts vary depending on whether they are up to date with their COVID-19 vaccinations or had confirmed COVID-19 within the 90 days prior to close contact. Someone is still considered a close contact even if they were wearing a mask while they were around you.
For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was less than 6 feet away from you for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period.
- An infected person can transmit SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, starting 48 hours (2 days) before they have symptoms or before they were tested.
- People who are infected but do not show symptoms (asymptomatic) and those who do not yet have symptoms (pre-symptomatic) can spread the virus to others.
Who Are Your Close Contacts?
Close contacts are people you have been around (less than 6 feet away for a combined total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period) during the two-day period before you first had symptoms OR if you do not have symptoms, two days before you were tested for COVID-19, through to the time you started isolation. They are at greatest risk of infection and therefore need to be notified as soon as possible.
Make A List Of Close Contacts To Notify. Think About:
- Who lives with you (including family members, roommates, or overnight guests)?
- Who are your intimate partners?
- Who do you work or volunteer with outside of the home?
- Who were you with at an in-person meeting or gathering you attended?
- Who have you gotten together with recently (visited in their home, eaten out at a restaurant, gone out for drinks, exercised with or gone to a gym with, had over to your house, gone to a party with)?
- Who has provided services in your home, like a home health aide, nurse, childcare provider, house cleaner, or maintenance professional?
- Who have you visited in the hospital, a nursing home, or a jail or prison?
- Who has provided you or another person in your home with medical or dental care?
- Who have you had an in-person appointment with recently (for example, a hair salon, barber, tattoo parlor, nail salon)?
- Who have you ridden with in a personal vehicle recently?
- Who have you played sports with recently, or worked with on an arts-related group activity such as a concert, musical, or play?
- Who have you interacted with at a place of worship?
How to Notify People You Have Been Around That They May Have Been Exposed To COVID-19
By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect them and others within your community. You can call, text, or email your contacts. If you would like to stay anonymous, there is also an online tool that allows you to tell your contacts by sending out emails or text notifications anonymously (tellyourcontacts.orgexternal icon).
An Example of What to Say to Your Close Contacts:
“Hi. I need to talk to you about something important. Do you have a few minutes to talk privately? I was diagnosed with COVID-19 (or tested positive) on [xxx date]. We spent time together on [xxx date], and I wanted to let you know, so that you can follow recommendations to quarantine, get tested, or wear a mask to protect your family and others within and outside your household. CDC recommendations vary based on whether you are up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations, or ever had COVID-19 before. You should monitor yourself for symptoms of COVID-19, get tested, and isolate away from others if you get symptoms or test positive.”