The DC Contact Trace Force is an expansive initiative within the Department of Health (DC Health). The mission of DC Health is to promote health, wellness and equity across the District, and to protect the safety of residents, visitors and those doing business in our nation’s Capital. DC Health is responsible for identifying health risks; educating the public; preventing and controlling diseases, injuries and exposure to environmental hazards; promoting effective community collaborations; and optimizing equitable access to community resources.
This Contact Trace Force supports DC Health’s critical operation to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the District of Columbia and prevent hospitalization and death. This will be achieved through rapid and robust case identification, case investigation and contact tracing resulting in safe isolation and quarantine for all District residents. This force is designated as essential and is part of the District’s emergency response which operates seven days a week. Work may be required during evenings and weekends.
In mid-August, the DC Contact Trace Force began stopping by the homes of residents possibly exposed to a confirmed COVID-19 case. A resident will receive critical information on the next steps and about their possible exposure.
Protect yourself and others against contact tracing scams
Scam callers may claim to be DC contact tracers and ask you for personal information. Here is how to know the real DC Contact Trace Force is calling you:
- If we call, the caller ID will say “DC COVID19 Team” on any phone with any carrier
- You WILL NEVER be asked for your immigration status, social security number (SSN), bank account details or credit card numbers.
If you are suspicious of any call or form of contact that you believe IS NOT from the DC Contact Trace Force, write down the caller’s information, hang up, and visit the nearest MPD district station and have an officer take the report.
What can I expect if the DC Contact Trace Force contacts me as a case?
If the DC Contact Trace Force calls you, please answer the call – we need you to help us stop the spread of COVID-19. Contact tracers will interview you to learn more about your illness, including your symptoms and when they started. You will be asked:
- Health information (e.g., How are you feeling now?; What other health conditions do you have?)
- Risk factors (e.g., Do you work in a high-risk occupation (healthcare worker, first responder) or work or live in a congregate setting (correctional facility, long-term care facility, food processing plant)?)
- Recent movements and identification of contacts
- Household information and living arrangements
- Information about close contacts, including their name, phone number, email address, and risk factors
DC Health will contact your close contacts to prevent others from being exposed to COVID-19. DC Health will not identify you to those close contacts.
The health department will give you guidance and resources. This will help you manage your isolation and self-care through your illness and recovery.
If I get contacted by the Health Department as a close contact, what can I expect?
A contact tracer will interview you to learn the details of your exposure to the case. Staff will identify the date of last exposure to determine your quarantine period. A quarantine period is usually 14 days after the date you were last exposed to the person with COVID-19. This is the period you could develop symptoms of COVID-19 from your exposure to the case. During the quarantine you will avoid being in close contact with others.
DC Health will give you guidance and information to manage your quarantine. This includes how to maintain proper infection prevention and control measures and monitor for symptoms.
If I am a case, will you identify me to close contacts when you interview them?
No, DC Health will not identify you to close contacts. However, it may be possible for close contacts to identify you based on the dates, times, and locations where they were exposed.