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Source investigation is when we try to find out how or where someone with COVID-19 (coronavirus) first became infected with the virus.

The source of infection can be a person, place or event.

Source investigation gives us information about settings and situations where COVID-19 spreads. It helps to find and stop clusters of COVID-19 developing in the community.

The difference between source investigation and contact tracing

Contact tracing

Contact tracing identifies people who were in close contact with someone who has COVID-19. The timeline for this will depend on whether they had symptoms when they were tested.

Read about contact tracing

Source investigation

Source investigation identifies:

  • where someone may have been infected
  • who may have infected them

We ask people with COVID-19 if they were in contact with someone who had COVID-19. If they weren’t, we ask them about events or places they were at in the week before their symptoms began. If they didn’t have symptoms, we ask about events or places they were at, the week before the day of their COVID-19 test.

This can identify the source of their infection. It can stop more people from being infected by the same source.

We may contact people who were in the same place or at the same event as the person with COVID-19.

If you received a text message

If you received a text message from the source investigation team, we will arrange a free COVID-19 test for you. We will send you a text message with your test appointment details.

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19, you do not need to restrict your movements (stay at home).

If you develop symptoms of COVID-19, self-isolate (stay in your room) and phone your GP immediately.

Related topics

What happens during the COVID-19 test
Protect yourself and others from COVID-19
Minding your mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Join the Fight Against Coronavirus.

Download the CovidTracker app
COVID Tracker app on phone