Contact Tracing

Updated Aug. 30, 2022

What is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing is a routine process public health professionals use to help slow and prevent the spread of infectious diseases, such as COVID-19. It starts with an in-depth interview with a person newly diagnosed with an infectious disease (a case). This is called a disease investigation. During the disease investigation, the case is asked questions to help identify other people they may have exposed (contacts). Then, the contacts are notified by either the case, public health professionals, or using tools like WA Notify or an app called so the contacts can self-monitor for illness and seek appropriate medical care, including COVID-19 testing.

Local health departments often conduct this work with the support of the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) and its partners.