Stay safe. Protect each other. Download the COVID Tracker app.
Last updated: 9 October 2020 at 10.30am
Contact tracing identifies people who were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19 (coronavirus).
It is done to try to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in the community. The people who do this work are 'contact tracers'.
Contact tracers may contact you if you:
If you are a close contact they will advise you to restrict your movements for 14 days. They will also arrange for you to get tested.
If you test positive
If you test positive for COVID-19 a contact tracer will call you. They will ask for contact details for any of your close contacts
If you test positive and have symptoms
They will ask about people and places you have visited 48 hours before your symptoms started and until you started self-isolating.
If you test positive but do not have symptoms
They will only ask about people and places you have visited 24 hours before your test took place and until you started self-isolating.
They do not ask about people you may have passed by on the street or in a shop. In these situations, there is practically no risk in passing on the virus, especially if you are practicing social distancing.
Contact tracing is confidential. Anyone a contact tracer calls will not know it was you who gave them their contact details.
COVID Tracker app
The contact tracer will also ask if you have been using the COVID Tracker app.
If you have been, they'll ask you to use the upload function to alert your close contacts. You do this using the app. It's your choice if you want to do this.
If you agree, they'll send you a unique upload code by text message. This code unlocks the upload functionality on the app.
If you are a close contact
If you are a close contact of someone who has tested positive you will receive either:
- a call from a contact tracer
- an alert on your mobile phone, if you're using the COVID Tracker app
You will have to:
A contact tracer will arrange a COVID-19 test for you, even if you do not have symptoms.
You may be referred for 2 tests if you are a close contact. The first test will be straight away. The second test will be around 7 days after your last contact with the person who tested positive.
If you are an essential healthcare worker, ring your manager and occupational health department. Do not go to work until you have spoken to them.
Calls from contact tracers
If you don't answer a call from a contact tracer, they will leave a message, if your voicemail is working. They will let you know that they have tried to contact you. They will try and call you up to 5 times over 2 days, if necessary.
You can’t contact a contact tracer directly or return a missed call. If you return the call, you will be redirected to a voice message.
If it has been more than 2 days since your first missed call or you have missed 5 calls, contact HSELive.
Help with the call
You may need extra help with the call, for example, if English is not your first language or if you are unwell. If you mention this when you are being tested, we will try and provide an interpreter. You can also give us the name and number of a person who can take the call on your behalf, if you would prefer.