The Importance Of Contact Tracing

Sep 22, 2021

With COVID cases on the rise, local health officials want to remind those who test positive that working with case investigators to notify their close contacts is both safe and important. WMRA's Randi B. Hagi reports.

Jordi Shelton is a communications specialist with the Central Shenandoah Health District.
Credit Central Shenandoah Health District

Jordi Shelton, a communications specialist with the Central Shenandoah Health District, said they've had some issues in identifying people who have come into close contact with someone with COVID.

JORDI SHELTON: Some folks just don't know how important it is, so they may not answer the call from the health department … they might be confused as to why they're being asked this information. But the bottom line is that, if you test positive for COVID-19 and the health department calls you, it's so critical to provide those close contacts, even if they're vaccinated and if you're vaccinated.

Unless you give consent, health officials will not pass along your name when notifying your close contacts of their potential exposure.

SHELTON: Case investigators are trained public health professionals. They're never going to ask you for your social security number, your bank information. They're not going to try to sell you anything. They're not going to try to figure out your immigration status. Really, all that they're trying to do is see who you've been around so they can let them know, those close contacts, that they need to quarantine, and then make sure you have the resources that you need if you're sick.

Also, Shelton said to keep your eye out for the Richmond area code -- 804 -- since case investigators work directly for the Virginia Department of Health, rather than area individual health districts.