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Connected California

It’s time for the next step in slowing the spread of COVID-19: California Connected — our state’s contact tracing program

This process has been used by public health for decades to slow the spread of infectious disease.  

Over the years, California has used contact tracing to help combat tuberculosis, polio, measles, HIV/AIDS, and many other infectious diseases. It works by slowing the spread and avoiding outbreaks. It will allow California to maintain our healthcare capacity and modify our Stay-at-Home order. For each person we contact, we check symptoms, offer testing, and recommend avoiding close contact with other people until it’s safe to do so.

The more people who participate – by answering the call — the more lives and jobs California saves. 

Contact tracing is an anonymous way to do your part.

California is using contact tracing to connect with people who are COVID-19 positive, so we can help them get medical care and figure out who they might have exposed without knowing it, so those individuals can be contacted, too. Everyone will get information on how to protect themselves and others. That’s all there is to it. 

How does California Connected work?

Connected: How does contact tracing work? [Infographic]

Download How Does Contact Tracing Work? (PDF)

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • You will have access to COVID-19 related treatment, regardless of your income, health insurance, or immigration status.
  • You should quarantine or separate yourself from others as best you can to keep from spreading the disease. 
  • Your local public health department will ask you basic questions, like your name and age, as well as places you’ve been and the people you’ve spent time with recently.
  • Those people will be contacted and told they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Anyone you’ve been in close contact with can also access help.
  • Your personal information is confidential and will not be shared. The public health department will not ask about your immigration status.

The local public health department will make sure your symptoms are not worsening and help point you to needed support or services. 

If you are exposed to COVID-19:

  • You’ll get a call, text or email from your local public health department to let you know someone you have been in contact with has tested positive for COVID-19.
  • They will not share information about who may have exposed you – this information is confidential and cannot be shared.  
  • They will help you understand your infection risk and advise you on how to prevent further spread, in case you also test positive.
  • They will stay in touch to see if you develop symptoms.
  • You’ll be connected to free, confidential testing, regardless of income, health insurance, or immigration status, and, if needed, will be asked to quarantine yourself to protect others around you.
  •  They may ask questions about the places you’ve been and the people you’ve spent time with recently.
  • Your personal information is confidential and will not be shared. The public health department will not ask about your immigration status.

It’s important to answer a call from your local public health department.

Together, we can prevent the spread and keep our communities healthy and on the path to re-opening.

Is the information I provide confidential?

Your identity and health information is always kept private. It will not be shared with anyone who may have been exposed. You will not be asked about your immigration status during testing, care or follow up calls from your public health department. You will also never be asked for your social security number or payment, financial or banking information.

In addition, all information is kept confidential and protected by California’s strict privacy laws. All data is maintained with strict privacy and security storage standards. The data is only collected and stored for use by local and state public health departments.

Why it’s important to answer the phone call

The sooner the public health department can reach you, the sooner advice, testing, and support can be provided.

For people who are experiencing symptoms, testing can be arranged quickly. The health department will support individuals who need to self-quarantine by linking them to available services.

Questions and answers

Tips to protect others around you:

If you are confirmed to have COVID-19, it is important to quarantine yourself from others, so they do not get sick. It will be recommended that you stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom if possible. It’s important to disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items to prevent spreading the virus. 

People you live with are considered close contacts and will be recommended to get tested. 

How to find supportive resources: 

Your local public health department can connect you to testing, medical care and additional supportive resources. Depending on resources, your local public health department may be able to find options for you to live in a place outside your home to assist you in safely recovering during self-isolation.

In addition, you can find resources for you and your family on this website. Resources for immigrant Californians can also be found on the Guide for Immigrant Californians

You can find childcare support by visiting for information on all licensed center-based and family child care homes, including both private-pay and subsidized childcare. Children of essential workers are eligible to enroll in subsidized Emergency Childcare, subject to capacity and eligibility requirements. Your local child care resource and referral agency can answer more questions about child care subsidies.

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