IF YOU ARE FULLY VACCINATED
CDC has updated its guidance for people who are fully vaccinated. See Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People.
IMPORTANT UPDATE FOR SCHOOLS
CDC recommends schools continue to use the current COVID-19 prevention strategies for the 2020-2021 school year. Learn more
Important update: Healthcare facilities
CDC has updated select ways to operate healthcare systems effectively in response to COVID-19 vaccination. Learn more

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Communication Toolkit for Health Departments

COVID-19 Contact Tracing Communication Toolkit for Health Departments
Updated June 21, 2021

State and local health department staff can use or adapt these ready-made materials to educate their community about case investigation and contact tracing for COVID-19. This toolkit contains key messages, sample talking points, public service announcements, social media posts, graphics, questions and answers, and links to additional resources.

For additional details on case investigation and contact tracing to inform your communication strategy, read the Interim Guidance on Developing a COVID-19 Case Investigation & Contact Tracing Plan: Overview.

This toolkit will be updated regularly. Check back for updates.

Summary of Recent Changes

  • Updated language to align with new vaccine guidance.

View Previous Updates

Key Messages

Case investigation and contact tracing slow the spread of COVID-19 by

During contact tracing, health department staff will not ask you for:

  • Money
  • Social Security number
  • Bank account information
  • Salary information
  • Credit card numbers

The bottom line: Choosing to help your health department slow the spread of COVID-19 protects you, your family, and your community.

For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for a total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting from 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, if they are asymptomatic, 2 days before their specimen that tested positive was collected), until they meet the criteria for discontinuing home isolation.

Talking points

Explain case investigation and contact tracing

  • Case investigation: Case investigation is the process health departments use to work with people who have COVID-19. Case investigators
    • Ask people with COVID-19 to isolate and to monitor their health.
    • Help people with COVID-19 recall everyone they had close contact with during the time when they might have been infectious.
    • Ask people with COVID-19 to notify everyone they were in close contact with to tell them that they have been exposed to COVID-19.
    • Provide connections to supportive services while a person is isolating.
  • Contact tracing: Contact tracing is the process health departments use to work with people who have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19. Contact tracers

Encourage people with COVID-19 to isolate and encourage people who might have been exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine when needed

Any close contacts who have symptoms or test positive for COVID-19 should isolate, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection.

Encourage members of your community to access vaccination services

  • Once you are eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, we highly recommend scheduling an appointment to get vaccinated or visiting a vaccination site that does not require an appointment. The federal government is providing the vaccine free of charge to all people living in the United States, regardless of their immigration or health insurance status. There are several ways you can look for vaccination providers near you:
    • Visit Vaccines.gov to find vaccination providers near you. In some states, information may be limited while more vaccination providers and pharmacies are being added. Learn more about COVID-19 Vaccination Locations on Vaccines.gov.
    • Text your zip code to 438829 or call 1-800-232-0233 to find vaccine locations near you.
    • Check your local pharmacy’s website to see if vaccination appointments are available. Find out which pharmacies are participating in the Federal Retail Pharmacy Program.
    • Check your local news outlets. They may have information on how to get a vaccination appointment.

Encourage members of your community to answer the phone from the health department

  • We all need to work together to slow the spread of COVID-19.
  • If you are a close contact, the health department might still call you to conduct contact tracing, even if you have been fully vaccinated.
  • Be part of the solution and answer the phone—it may be the health department calling to let you know your test result came back positive for COVID-19, or that you have been in close contact with someone who has it.
  • Discussions with health department staff are confidential. This means that your personal and medical information will be kept private and only shared with those who may need to know, like your health care provider.
  • Your name will not be shared with those you came in contact with. The health department will only notify people you were in close contact with that they might have been exposed to COVID-19.
  • Your information will be collected for health purposes only and will not be shared with any other agencies, like law enforcement or immigration.
How To Talk To Your Close Contacts
How To Talk To Your Close Contacts pdf imagepdf icon[PDF - 956 KB, 2 Pages]

Encourage your community to follow state and local health department guidance

Encourage people who have COVID-19 to tell their close contacts

Use CDC’s messages for specific audiences about what to expect during case investigation and contact tracing

Sample public service announcements

15-second

The [insert health department name] is working hard to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you have been around someone with COVID-19, someone from the health department may call you to discuss important COVID-19 information, such as signs and symptoms of COVID-19, testing, and quarantine. Help us by answering the call to slow the spread of COVID-19.

30-second

The [insert health department name] is working hard to slow the spread of COVID-19. If you have been around someone with COVID-19, someone from the health department may call you to talk about important COVID-19 information. Choosing to help us slow the spread of COVID-19 helps protect you, your family, and your community. Help us by answering the call to slow the spread of COVID-19. For more information, visit [insert URL]. This is a message from the [insert health department name].

Find additional Public Service Announcements in multiple languages about everyday prevention actions, cleaning and disinfection, mask use, physical distancing, vaccines, and more.

Video
Answer the Call - Contact Tracing Video

This 1-minute long animation video with voiceover informs the public about contact tracing and why they should answer and respond to a call from a contact tracer.

Español

Sample graphics

Share contact tracing messages and graphics on your website, social media account, within other COVID-19 education materials. To download, right click on the image and “save image as.” Access all COVID-19 contact tracing communications graphics on CDC’s website.

Image of hand answering a call from a person calling from the health department. cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Answer the Call from the Health Department
Image of person answering a call with another room in the background. cdc.gov/coronavirus.
Tell Your Close Contacts
A woman on a phone
Tell Your Close Contacts
Image of a person sitting on a balcony. cdc.gov/coronavirus.
What to Expect if You Have Been Exposed to COVID-19
Contact Tracing social distancing
Multi-Use Contact Tracing Images
Man taking his temperature while on the phone.
Multi-Use Contact Tracing Images

View all COVID-19 Contact Tracing Communications Graphics available to download for free.

Sample social media posts

Raise awareness about case investigation and contact tracing for COVID-19 by sharing resources with your community. Share the sample content shown below or create your own messages. You can also follow CDC’s social media accounts to repost/retweet messages for your community. For more social media-ready COVID-19 content on a variety of topics, visit the Stop The Spread Social Media Toolkit.

Twitter

Example posts from CDC’s Twitter (@CDCgov) account:

Example post from CDC’s Twitter account

By letting your close contacts know they may have been exposed to #COVID19, you are helping to protect them and others in your community. You can call, text, or email your contacts. Learn more: bit.ly/3r2Pmd1.

Example post from CDC’s Twitter account

Health departments and public health professionals have used contact tracing for decades to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases. The success of #COVID19 contact tracing depends on people’s participation. Learn more: bit.ly/2ZkyWjJ.

Facebook

  • If you have been exposed to COVID-19, we will call you to talk about important COVID-19 information, such as signs and symptoms of COVID-19, testing, and quarantine. Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine, but they should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. Do your part to help protect your family and your community: answer the call to slow the spread. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html
  • If you have COVID-19, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection, someone from [insert health department name] might call you to check on your health, discuss who you’ve been in contact with, and ask you to stay at home and away from others to isolate. This information is collected for health purposes only and will not be shared with any other agencies, like law enforcement or immigration. Your name will not be revealed to those you came in contact with. Do your part to help protect your family and your community from COVID-19: answer the call to slow the spread. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html
  • If you have COVID-19, notify your close contacts—meaning people you were around in the 2 days before your symptoms started (or before your COVID-19 test, if you had no symptoms) until you started isolation. You can spread the virus to others with or without symptoms. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html
  • Close contacts are the people you were around in the two days before your symptoms started (or two days before your COVID-19 test, if you had no symptoms), until you started isolation. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html
  • By letting your close contacts know they might have been exposed to COVID-19, you are helping to protect them and others in your community. You can call, text, or email your contacts. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html
  • You may be considered a close contact even if you have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19, which means your health department may call or text you. Most people who are fully vaccinated do not need to quarantine. If people, regardless of vaccination status or prior infection, begin to experience COVID-19 symptoms or test positive for COVID-19, they should isolate from others. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html
  • Health departments and public health professionals have used contact tracing for decades to slow or stop the spread of infectious diseases. The success of COVID-19 contact tracing depends on people’s participation. Learn more: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/contact-tracing.html
  • School administrators: As K–12 schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs) resume in-person learning, crucial and effective strategies to slow the spread of COVID-19 are:
    • Identifying people who are sick and asking those who are to isolate
    • Letting people know they might have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms
    • Asking people who have been exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine
  • Learn about steps to take in CDC’s updated guidance for COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing in K-12 schools and IHEs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/contact-tracing.html

Example post from CDC’s Facebook account (@CDC):

Example post from CDC’s Facebook account

If you have COVID-19, notify your close contacts—meaning people you were around in the 2 days before your symptoms started (or before your COVID-19 test, if you had no symptoms) until you started isolation. You can spread the virus to others with or without symptoms. Learn more: bit.ly/3r2Pmd1.

Instagram

  • The best way to protect yourself and others is to stay home for 14 days if you think you’ve been exposed to someone who has #COVID19. Most fully vaccinated people with no COVID-like symptoms do not need to quarantine, but they should still monitor for COVID-19 symptoms. Check your local health department’s website for information about options in your area to possibly shorten this quarantine period. #CDC #PublicHealth #Coronavirus
  • School administrators: As K–12 schools and institutions of higher education (IHEs) resume in-person learning, effective strategies to slow the spread of #COVID19 are:
    • Identifying people who are sick and asking those who are to isolate
    • Letting people know they might have been exposed to COVID-19 and should monitor their health for signs and symptoms
    • Asking people who have been exposed to COVID-19 to quarantine.

Learn about steps to take in CDC’s updated guidance for COVID-19 case investigation and contact tracing in K-12 schools and IHEs: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/contact-tracing.html

#CDC #PublicHealth #Coronavirus

Example post from CDC’s Instagram account (@cdcgov):

Example post from CDC’s Instagram account

Do you know what happens during #COVID19 contact tracing? We have an answer. #CDC #PublicHealth #Coronavirus

For more sample social media posts, access CDC’s Social Media Toolkit.

Questions and answers

Health department staff might have questions about various topics related to case investigation and contact tracing. Visit the Contact Tracing Frequently Asked Questions and Answers webpage for additional information.

Additional Resources
infographic-thumbnail for contract tracing

What you can expect to happen during contact tracing if you have been diagnosed with COVID-19

Additional Languages:
Chinese | KoreanMarshallese | Spanish | Vietnamese

3 Key Steps to Take While Waiting for Your COVID-19 Test Result

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, take these 3 key steps now while waiting for your test results

Additional Languages:
Chinese | Korean | Marshallese | Spanish | Vietnamese

How To Talk To Your Close Contacts pdf image

This important resource encourages people who have COVID-19 to notify their close contacts so that they can quarantine at home and get tested.

How To Talk To Your Close Contacts pdf image
Answer the Call – Contact Tracing Video

This 1-minute animation video with voiceover informs the public about contact tracing and why they should answer and respond to a call from a contact tracer.

English
Español

Find other print resources that are being used to support COVID-19 recommendations.

Previous Updates