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Just taking a call can save lives
We can’t stop the spread of COVID-19 alone. We have to do it together. Social distancing is only part of the solution. The virus that causes COVID-19 spreads easily between people. To break the chain of infection, we’re calling individuals who have been exposed. The process is called contact tracing and it has been used to control diseases for decades. But you have to answer the phone for it to work.
If you get a call from 866-806-3447, MI COVID HELP or your local health department please answer.
How does contact tracing work?
It starts with people with confirmed or suspected infections. Public health staff reach out and ask about close contacts they’ve had during the time they may have been infectious. Contact tracers then call individuals who may have been exposed as quickly and sensitively as possible.
Contacts are given information and support to understand their risk and how to keep others safe. They’re asked to monitor for their symptoms, to isolate, and seek help if they become ill.
The calls are confidential. Contact tracers protect the privacy of patients and contacts. They don’t give the name of the patient, only that they may have been exposed to someone with the infection.
What can I expect if I get a call?
If you have been exposed to coronavirus, wear a well-fitting mask and keep a social distance from others (at least 6 feet). A contact tracer will check in with you to answer questions and offer resources.
- Household/Personal contact:
If you were exposed to a person who tested positive in your household or personal life, you need to conduct symptom monitoring for 10 days; test at least one time if possible three to seven days after exposure or if symptoms develop. Wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days from the date of last exposure to protect others and avoid unmasked activities, or activities with higher risk of exposing vulnerable individuals, for 10 days from the date of last exposure.
- Other contact (community, social, work setting):
If your exposure happened in a community, social or work setting, you need to conduct symptom monitoring for 10 days and test if symptoms develop. Wear a well-fitting mask around others for 10 days from the date of last exposure to protect others. At a minimum, wear a mask in settings with higher risk of exposing vulnerable individuals.
For those who are unable to mask, 10-day home quarantine is recommended.
How can I trust the caller?
Check the number. The call will come from 866-806-3447, MI COVID HELP or your local health department. You may also receive a text from 25051 prior to the call.
- Health department tracers will never ask you for personal identification like your Social Security Number, driver’s license or credit card information.
- If a caller claims to be working for the health department and asks for personal identification or financial information, it is likely a scam.
Who is considered a contact?
Contact (also called close contact) is when a person is exposed to someone with COVID-19 less than 6 feet apart for as little as 15 minutes. This includes brief encounters totaling 15 minutes or more in a 24 hour period.