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Contact tracing is an important step in slowing the spread of COVID-19. It’s when health workers notify you that you’ve been in contact with an infected person, and you should also get tested. Public health departments have used contact tracing for decades to fight infectious disease. 

Introducing California Connected, our state’s contact tracing program.

Connected California

Under this program, health workers will talk to those who have tested positive. They’ll alert anyone they may have exposed, keeping names confidential. They’ll check symptoms, offer testing, and discuss next steps like self-isolation and medical care.

By finding spread patterns quickly, we slow infection and help avoid outbreaks. This lets California keep healthcare needs below capacity and safely reopen business.

All you have to do is answer a phone call

Contact tracing is an anonymous way to do your part. The more people answer the call, the more lives and jobs California saves. Your information is always kept confidential.

Early awareness helps you protect your friends and loved ones from exposure. And early medical care can improve your outcome.

The sooner we can reach you, the sooner you can get advice, testing, and support.

How does contact tracing work?

Connected: How does contact tracing work? [Infographic]

Download How Does Contact Tracing Work? (PDF)

If you test positive for COVID-19:

  • You will get medical care, regardless of income, health insurance, or immigration status.
  • You will get advice on how to separate yourself from others to avoid spreading the disease. 
  • You will be asked basic questions like your name and age, the places you’ve been, and the people you’ve spent time with.
  • Those people will be contacted and told they may have been exposed to COVID-19. They will be offered testing and medical care.
  • Your personal information is confidential and will not be shared. They will not ask about your immigration status.

If you are exposed to COVID-19:

  • You’ll get a call, text or email from your local public health department to inform you of this exposure.
  • They will not share information about who may have exposed you. This information is confidential.  
  • You’ll get free, confidential testing, regardless of income, health insurance, or immigration status.
  • They will help you understand your infection risk. They’ll tell you what to do immediately to prevent further spread.
  • They will stay in touch to see if you develop symptoms.
  • If you have symptoms, they will get you tested quickly. You will get resources to self-isolate.
  • They may ask questions about the places you’ve been and the people you’ve spent time with.
  • Your personal information is confidential and will not be shared. They will not ask about your immigration status.

Is the information I provide confidential?

Yes. Your identity and health information is always kept private. It will not be shared with anyone who may have been exposed. No one will ask about your immigration status during testing, care or follow-up calls. You will never be asked for your Social Security number or payment information.

California’s strict privacy laws protect all your information. California Connected maintains data with strict privacy and security storage standards. The data is only collected and stored for use by local and state public health departments.

Tips to protect others around you

If you find out you have COVID-19, it’s important to quarantine yourself from others so they don’t get sick. Try to stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. Disinfect frequently-touched surfaces, or have your caregiver do so. 

People you live with are close contacts and should get tested.

Support if you test positive

Your local public health department can connect you to 

  • Testing
  • Medical care
  • Housing if you need it to self-isolate.

If you work, your employer may be required to provide you with paid sick leave. See this list of employee paid leave rights, ensured by the federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).

Workers are eligible for other benefits as well. See these benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19.

If you need childcare, visit MyChildCare.ca.gov to find licensed childcare near you. Subsidies may be available. Check your local childcare resource and referral agency to see if you qualify.If you’re an immigrant, you can find help in the Guide for Immigrant Californians (PDF).

Questions and answers

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