How Does Contact Tracing Work To Isolate Coronavirus?

Updated on July 21, 2020

Now that the coronavirus seems to be under control in most of Europe, there are people watching closely to see how they manage to keep their numbers low and avoid a second wave of an outbreak.

Other countries want to know what is working and what is not when it comes to flattening the curve of their own cases. And once the curve is flattened then they want to keep it that way. What usually happens after a major outbreak is that once the guard is lowered, a second outbreak is likely to happen. And sometimes it can be even deadlier than the first.

Which is why implementing contact tracing is so important. It helps identify a possible outbreak before it happens. Then, resources can be directed to an area that looks ripe for a new outbreak. And in many cases it can be contained.

In this article, we will go over what contact tracing is and how it is used to prevent the second wave from happening.

What is contact tracing

The process involves tracking people down that a person who has tested positive for Covid-19 has been in contact with so they can be alerted. Those people will either be tested or asked to self quarantine for 14 days to see if they develop symptoms.

This is why masks are so important and are the best defense against spreading the disease. You can wear cloth masks or even N95, but whichever one you wear, make sure you always have one on when in contact with other people. You can buy some at

Manual tracing

There are two kinds of tracing available right now. One involves people using an app and the other is manual in which case a person who tests positive will have to fill out a form.

The form will ask them to provide details about their movements and who they’ve come into contact with. Anybody who you have been in the presence of for more than 15 minutes or you have had skin to skin contact with will be considered close contact and is the person most likely to need to be followed up with.

These contacts will need to have been during a nine-day period, starting 48 hours before the symptoms appeared. 

Using an app

There is also an app which in theory should work much more efficiently than a manual tracing procedure. I say in theory because many people are wary of signing up for a tracker that will trace their movements and seem to give up their privacy.

However, the way it works is that anybody who is tested and is using the app will alert others also on the app if they have been in the vicinity of the positive person.

You will get an alert which will let you know of the possibility that you have been exposed and what you should do next. Like with manual tracing, it will determine if your contact is close contact and if you will need to isolate. If you do and see symptoms then you will likely be tested.

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.