The County Public Health Department conducts contact tracing for confirmed cases in SLO County. 

Contact tracing is a public health practice in which trained investigators follow up on each positive Covid-19 case to help provide assistance and to identify others who may have been exposed to the disease. They ask how the patients are doing, issue isolation orders, and help connect them with care and services, if needed. They also notify those who may have been exposed (without disclosing where or by whom), issue quarantine letters, provide instructions on monitoring for symptoms,  organize testing as appropriate, and other services if needed. Those at high risk also receive follow-up calls throughout the process.  All personal information, including names, are strictly protected.

contact tracing

If you are diagnosed with COVID-19

If you are diagnosed with COVID 19, an employee (contact tracer, or case investigator) from the County Public Health Department will:

  • Call you to check in on your health and discuss who you’ve been in contact with.
  • Ask about who you’ve been in contact with 48 hours before your symptoms began or the date of your test through the current time.
  • Hide your name from those you have been in close contact with, even if they ask, unless you give permission for the health department to reveal your name to your close contacts.
  • Ask you to stay at home and self-isolate. The contact tracer will provide you with information about how to safely and effectively isolate at home. If needed, they will also connect you with support (such as help with groceries) so that you can remain at home.
  • Call you regularly to check on you.

If you were in close contact of someone with COVID-19

Close contact means you were within 6 feet of a person with COVID-19 for at least 15 minutes.

  • An employee from the Public Health Department might call to inform you that you’ve been exposed. The number will likely begin with (805) 781- or (805) 788. The contact tracer will ask you to stay at home and monitor your health. This is known as self-quarantine. They will let you know how long you need to stay home. If needed, they will also connect you with support (such as help with groceries) so that you can remain at home. 
  • You should monitor yourself for any symptoms of COVID-19 and notify your Public Health Department (they will provide a phone number) if you develop symptoms. If you are at especially high risk, the Public Health Department will call to check on you regularly. 
  • If needed, the contact tracer will help you schedule an appointment for testing, at no cost to you. 
  • Remember to always seek medical care if symptoms become severe. Severe symptoms include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face. 

FAQs

 What information will you share with people I've had close contact with? 
We will only notify your close contacts that they might have been exposed to COVID-19. Your name will not be revealed to those you came in contact with, unless you give permission.
 Will my information be kept private? 
 Yes, the information that you provide the contact tracer will be confidential. 
 What questions do contact tracers ask? 
If you are diagnosed with COVID-19, contact tracers will ask where you have been and who you have been in contact with 48 hours before your symptoms began, or since the day you were tested. 
 What phone number will a contact tracer use to call me? Will they leave a message? 
The contact tracers usually call from numbers that begin with 805-781-or 805-788-, and they do leave messages. 
I feel fine. Why should I stay at home? 
People with COVID-19 can still spread the virus even if they don’t have any symptoms. If you came in close contact with someone who had COVID-19, it is critical that you stay home for 14 days from the last day that you were in close contact with that person. Staying home and distancing (at least 6 feet) from others at all times helps your health department in the fight against COVID-19 and keeps you, your family, and your community safe.
What do I do if I feel sick?
If you become ill with symptoms of COVID-19, call your regular health care provider to ask about getting tested for COVID-19, or check emergencySLO.org/testing for a list of sites where you can be tested at no charge. Notify your family and friends who you had close contact with recently. Notify anyone who you were within 6 feet of for 15 minutes or more in the two days before you first developed COVID-19 symptoms. Seek emergency care if you have trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in your chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, or bluish lips or face. More information on what you can do if you feel sick. 
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

People with COVID-19 have had a wide range of symptoms reported – ranging from mild symptoms to severe illness. Symptoms may appear 2-14 days after exposure to the virus. People with these symptoms may have COVID-19:: 

  •  Fever or chills 

  • Cough 

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing 

  • Fatigue 

  • Muscle or body aches 

  • Headache 

  • New loss of taste or smell 

  • Sore throat 

  • Congestion or runny nose 

  • Nausea or vomiting 

  • Diarrhea 

COVID-19 can cause more severe respiratory illness. If you have any of the emergency warning signs listed below, you should contact your medical provider immediately: 

  •  Trouble breathing 

  • Persistent pain or pressure in the chest 

  • New confusion 

  • Inability to wake up or stay awake 

  • Bluish lips or face 

Click here for more from the CDC regarding symptoms.

What should I do if I am unable to work after being exposed to COVID-19?

Individuals who are unable to work due to having or being exposed to COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Disability Insurance (DI) claim. 

Disability Insurance provides short-term benefit payments to eligible workers who have full or partial loss of wages due to a non-work-related illness, injury, or pregnancy. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50 - $1,300 a week. 

Californians who are unable to work because they are caring for an ill or quarantined family member with COVID-19 (certified by a medical professional) can file a Paid Family Leave (PFL) claim. 

Paid Family Leave provides up to six weeks of benefit payments to eligibileeligible workers who have a full or partial loss of wages because they need time off work to care for a seriously ill family member or to bond with a new child. Benefit amounts are approximately 60-70 percent of wages (depending on income) and range from $50-$1,300 a week. 

For more information related to resources for California's Employers and Workers, please visit this Labor and Workforce Development Agency webpage. 

What if I don't have health insurance and I need treatment for COVID-19?

 

  • See if you’re eligible for Medi-Cal 
  • If you need help finding health insurance or have problems with your coverage, visit slocounty.ca.gov/healthcare or call 805-781-4838.  
Can I recover at home? 
In most cases, people with COVID-19 can recover at home.  Contact tracers can help connect you with support (like help with groceries) so that you can remain at home if you do not need care in the hospital. If you become very sick, your health care provider will help determine if you need to be treated in a hospital. If you do not have a health care provider, your contact tracer can help you connect with care.