Whitehouse Centers for Disease Control and Prevention US Department of Homeland Security - Federal Emergency Management Agency

What is the difference between case investigation and contact tracing?

  • Case investigation: Case investigation is the identification and investigation of patients with confirmed and probable diagnoses of COVID-19. During the case investigation, the health department works with a patient who has COVID-19 to help them recall everyone they had close contact with during the time when they may have been infectious. For COVID-19, a close contact is anyone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes. An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 48 hours (or 2 days) before the person has any symptoms or tests positive for COVID-19.
  • Contact tracing: Contact tracing is the subsequent identification, monitoring, and support of a confirmed or probable case’s close contacts who have been exposed to, and possibly infected with, the virus. The infected patient’s identity is not discussed with contacts, even if asked.

Last updated September 28, 2020
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Preventionlinks to external site

See also: Prevent getting sick