Contact tracing is used by public health officials to learn who may have been infected by someone who has tested positive for an infectious disease. For COVID-19, contact tracing involves identification of people who have had prolonged, close contact with an individual infected with COVID-19 during the timeframe in which they may have been contagious and asking those individuals to take additional steps to protect themselves and others.
Mecklenburg County Public Health (MPCH) staff call and ask individuals who have tested positive for COVID- 19 to list of all the people they had close contact with starting two days before they first noticed symptoms (or 2 days before being tested if they are asymptomatic).
MCPH staff then attempts to notify the close contacts and provide recommendations regarding self-quarantine, avoiding close contact with others, monitoring for symptoms, and testing.
We know that the risk of developing COVID-19 depends on exposure. Contact tracing helps us identify exposed individuals who are at increased risk of developing this infection and implement measures to reduce the risk of further spread in our community.
Contact tracing helps stop the spread of COVID-19 by letting people know they were exposed before they get sick so that they can take appropriate precautions and avoid spreading it to others.
A close contact is defined as someone who has been within 6 feet of a person currently infected with the virus for a for at least 15 minutes total during a 24 hour period beginning 2 days before the person became sick (or two days before the date of the COVID test date if the person doesn’t have symptoms) or has had direct physical contact or direct with viral secretions, such as being coughed on or handling used tissues with bare hands. MCPH will attempt to notify close contacts of confirmed cases who meet this definition and are identified through the case investigation process.
If you believe you had close contact with someone with COVID-19 and were not notified, you should follow the below instructions:
For self-quarantine instructions in a language not listed above,
visit this CDC page. You may also call 980-314-9400 Option 3 for more questions.
Even if you have not had known close contact with someone who has COVID-19, it is important that you still take precautions every day to prevent spread of the virus, including practicing the 3Ws, getting tested if you think you may have been exposed, and isolating if you are sick.
The recommended quarantine period is 14 days.
For additional self-quarantine options, please review the instructions below:
If you are an EMPLOYER or EDUCATIONAL SETTING, information is available here in
Vaccinated persons with an exposure to someone with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 are NOT required to quarantine if they meet all of the following criteria:
Fully vaccinated people who do not quarantine should still monitor for symptoms of COVID-19 for 14 days following an exposure. If they experience any symptoms, they should:
Please call back the phone number provided by the Public Health staff member who called you. If you don’t have this phone number, you may call the contact tracing hotline at
980-314-9401. Please note this line is only for close contacts who have been previously identified and contacted by MCPH. All other general COVID-19 questions should be directed to the COVID-19 hotline at
If an individual who tested positive worked while contagious, Mecklenburg County Public Health collaborates directly with the employer to identify and notify those persons who had close contact with the individual who tested positive in the workplace setting. Please note that not everyone in the workplace setting is considered to be a close contact.
If you have questions or concerns about a workplace exposure, talk with your employer or call 980-314-9400 Option 3.
Close contacts will initially be called by a MCPH contact tracer. The contact tracer will discuss sending you a daily text from
453-94 or an e-mail from
NC-Outreachemail@example.com with a message from the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services. The message will include a link that will be used to check in with you throughout your quarantine period. If you did not first receive a call from a contact tracer and/or would like to verify the text message or email, please call
Public Health staff who call individuals for contact notification interviews will introduce themselves as Public Health staff and explain the purpose of their call. They may ask the individual to confirm their name, date of birth, address, and county of residence. They will not ask for other personal information such as social security number or financial information.
Public Health staff will ask specific questions and provide guidance regarding COVID-19, but will never offer to sell an individual any items.
Any close contact who wishes to confirm whether a call is coming from MCPH staff can ask for the name of the staff member and call our contact tracing hotline at
980-314-9401 to verify the information.
No. Public Health staff will share the date of exposure, but will not share the name of the person who tested positive directly with a close contact.
If you tested positive
more than 3 months ago and have close contact with someone who has COVID-19, you should self-quarantine again.
If you previously tested positive for COVID-19, you do not need to quarantine or get tested again for
up to 3 months after testing positive as long as you do not develop symptoms again.
If you develop symptoms again within 3 months of your positive COVID-19 test, you may need to be tested again if there is no other cause identified for their symptoms. Please stay home and contact your healthcare provider for further evaluation. You may also call 980-314-9400 with any questions.
Contact tracing is a community effort.
First, everyone should work to minimize close contact with others as much as possible by practicing the 3 Ws:
Second, it is important for anyone who is sick to stay home and avoid close contact with others. If you believe you may have COVID-19 or are diagnosed with COVID-19, you should tell anyone who you may have been in close contact with starting two days before you got sick that they may have been exposed.
Third, if you are diagnosed with COVID-19, work with MCPH to provide the information needed for contact tracing.
Fourth, if you are identified as a close contact, follow the self-quarantine recommendations to help prevent further spread in the community.
We encourage everyone to be part of the solution in keeping our community healthy and stopping the spread of COVID-19.
County services have returned to their normal schedule unless noted otherwise. Read the latest service availability update.