COVID-19: Contact Tracing

Once someone is diagnosed with COVID-19, it is essential that the individuals they have had contact with are identified in order to help prevent further spread of the virus. This is why DHS is working with local public health departments to build a network of contact tracers who are tasked with interviewing every person confirmed with COVID-19. As of April 21, 2020, the State of Wisconsin has been able to train nearly 400 contact tracers, with current staffing close to 200 tracers, to support local health departments in their work to identify potential COVID-19 exposures and help them follow appropriate isolation or quarantine guidance for reducing the further spread of COVID-19.

Information for local health departments on requesting assistance for contact tracing.

What to expect when you get a call from a contact tracer

Unfortunately, with any major event there are always bad actors who want to take advantage of the situation. DHS wants you to feel comfortable if you get a call from one of our contact tracers. Here’s what to expect:

  • Our staff will always identify themselves as representatives of the state or a local public health department and verify who they are talking with on the call—before they even begin to talk about contact tracing.
  • Once they verify who they are speaking with is the right person, they will explain why they are calling.
  • While our contact tracer will say you have been exposed, they won’t identify the person they were in contact with or where it might have happened. 

Contact Tracing: Keep your family and friends safe, answer the callHere are the things they will ask you for:

  • Your name
  • Your address
  • Your phone
  • Your email
  • Your gender
  • Your race/ethnicity
  • Whether you have any symptoms

The contact tracer will go through quarantine recommendations and sign you up for self-monitoring. 

We will never ask you for credit card, bank account numbers, or Social Security numbers. We would never send you a text with a link to click. 

All contact tracing team members have received training in and demonstrated understanding of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and the Wisconsin Electronic Disease Surveillance System (WEDSS). WEDSS is the secure system that handles the reporting, investigation, and monitoring of the information we receive.

Contact Tracing: How Public Health is Preventing the Spread of COVID-19 in Wisconsin

Last Revised: September 11, 2020