What is tracing?
- Tracing, also called contact tracing, involves finding people diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19 and asking them to stay away from other people until they can no longer spread the virus.
- Tracing is a critical part of New York City’s plan to contain the COVID-19 outbreak and open the city safely.
Who are Contact Tracers?
- Contact Tracers are part of the Test & Trace Corps. They call people diagnosed with COVID-19 and ask them to stay away from other people.
- Contact Tracers then find out who else may have been exposed to COVID-19 and ask them to stay away from other people as well.
Why is a Contact Tracer calling me?
- Contact Tracers call people who were diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.
- Your Contact Tracer will:
- Ask how you are feeling.
- Ask if you need resources to help you stay healthy and avoid spreading COVID-19.
- Explain how long you need to stay inside and away from other people.
- If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, your Contact Tracer also will:
- Ask questions to figure out how you may have been infected.
- Ask for names and contact information of everyone you had close contact with while you could have spread the virus to others.
- If your Contact Tracer cannot reach you by phone, they may have to visit you in person to check on you.
What is “close contact” with someone diagnosed with COVID-19?
- People who have had “close contact” include those who:
- Live with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Kissed or had sex with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Provided care in the home of someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- Spent 10 minutes or more within six feet of someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
- If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, your Contact Tracer will help you figure out who your close contacts are.
How do I know if the person calling me is with the Test & Trace Corps?
- Your Contact Tracer will call you from a number that says “NYC Test + Trace.”
- Your Contact Tracer will NEVER ask for your social security number, credit card number, or bank information. If anyone calls you asking for this information and says they are from the Test & Trace Corps, hang up.
- Your Contact Tracer may ask you for identifying information such as date of birth and address.
How did the Test & Trace Corps get my information?
- If you were diagnosed with COVID-19, the Test & Trace Corps received your information from the NYC Health Department.
- New York State law and the New York City Health Code require laboratories to send information to the NYC Health Department about COVID-19 test results.
- The NYC Health Department securely shared your information with the Test & Trace Corps in compliance with privacy laws that allow this type of information to be used to protect the public’s health and stop the spread of disease.
- If you were exposed to COVID-19, the Test & Trace Corps received your information because someone diagnosed with COVID-19 told a Contact Tracer that you were in close contact with them while they could have been spreading the virus.
- Your Contact Tracer cannot tell you who told them you were a close contact. All personal information shared with the Test & Trace Corps will be kept confidential as required by law.
How often will my Contact Tracer call me?
- Your Contact Tracer will call you every day for approximately 10 days – sometimes less or sometimes more – to see how you are doing.
- Make every effort to respond when your Contact Tracer calls you. The Caller ID will say “NYC Test + Trace.”
- If your Contact Tracer cannot reach you, they may have to visit you in person to check on you.
How will the Test & Trace Corps ensure my confidentiality?
- The personal information you provide will only be used by Test & Trace Corps for purposes of protecting public health and providing you with resources you need while staying separated from other people. It will be maintained securely.
- The Test & Trace Corps will protect the confidentiality of your information as required by law.
Why do Contact Tracers need to call people who were known to be exposed to COVID-19?
- People diagnosed with COVID-19 can notify their own close contacts about their exposure, but it is important that a Contact Tracer also call these close contacts to help them get tested, monitor their symptoms, and offer them any services they might need.
Will my Contact Tracer share my information with law enforcement or immigration services?
- Any information you share with your Contact Tracer will not be shared with immigration, law enforcement, or justice officials unless required by law.
Am I allowed to go outside if my Contact Tracer tells me I was diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19?
- You should not go outside until your Contact Tracer tells you it is OK to do so, unless you need essential medical care (for example, for a dialysis session or medical emergency).
- Respond to your Contact Tracer’s call every day so they can tell you when you can you leave your house again.
- If you need to go outside to get medical care, wear a face covering and let your health care provider know ahead of time that you have been diagnosed with or exposed to COVID-19.
- If you cannot safely stay away from other people in your home, let your Contact Tracer know or call (844-692-4692). They can help arrange a hotel room for you free of charge.
Is the Test & Trace Corps tracking my movements?
- No. Test & Trace Corps does not use smartphone technology or any other approach to track your movements.
- If a Contact Tracer comes to visit you in person, it is to check in on you and your health and learn who else may have been exposed to COVID-19.
Will I be arrested or fined if I go outside?
- No, you will not be arrested or fined for going outside.
- To prevent the spread of COVID-19, it is very important that you stay inside and away from other people in your household until your Contact Tracer tells you otherwise, unless you have a medical emergency.
- You can let your Contact Tracer know about any essential items you need during your daily check-in with them. They can make sure you have the food, medicine and other help you need brought right to you so you don’t have to go outside.
Will I be considered a “public charge” under immigration law for speaking with my Contact Tracer?
- No. Speaking with your Contact Tracer will not impact your ability to apply for a green card.
- Medical treatment or preventive healthcare services related to COVID-19 will NOT be considered under the public charge rule.
Can I get paid sick leave if I cannot go to work?
- You may be eligible for paid sick leave or expanded family leave under the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act or the New York State Paid Sick Leave Law adopted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Visit New Paid Leave for COVID-19 or call 311 for more information.
For more information, visit TestandTrace.NYC or call 311