Contact Tracing

Versión en Español

Frequently Asked Questions

Contact tracing is a confidential process that can help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases by reaching out to people who have been diagnosed and those who may have been exposed. 

If you test positive for COVID-19 or come in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, you may receive outreach from the North Carolina COVID Community Team. If you are not contacted and are in need of support, call the NC COVID Community Team at 1-844-628-7223.

You can help slow the spread of COVID-19. If you receive an email from NC-Outreach-noreply@dhhs.nc.gov, receive a text from 45395, or see your local health department or NC Outreach (1-844-628-7223) appear on your phone, please answer to help protect your community and the people you care about.

See a visual of how COVID-19 contact tracing works: 
English infographic   Spanish infographic

What You Should Expect

If you test positive for COVID-19 and your test is reported to your local health department, you will likely be contacted by the North Carolina COVID Community Team through text and/or email. (Some people may also be contacted by a phone call.) There will be a link in the text or email to important information on isolating and  accessing resources, and you will have the chance to use this link to anonymously list individuals whom you may have exposed to COVID-19. Your name and personal information are not shared with any of your contacts. All the information that you provide is confidential. You may also receive a text and/or email if you were exposed to someone who tested positive for COVID-19 and listed you as a close contact. 

Although some people who test positive may receive a phone call from the contact tracing team, most people will not. NCDHHS is currently prioritizing contact tracing phone calls to people who are associated with outbreaks and/or are living or working in high-risk settings, such as congregate living facilities, as well as informational calls to people who did not receive a text and/or are part of an under-resourced community. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate and inform your own close contacts of exposure. See CDC for more information on how to do this. If you are in need of support or have questions, you may call the NC COVID Community Team at 1-844-628-7223. 

A contact tracer from the NC COVID Community Team will:

  • NEVER ask for your Social Security number
  • NEVER ask for any private financial information
  • NEVER ask for credit card information
  • NEVER send you a link without proper authentication procedures

Hope4NC Helpline (1-855-587-3463)

Hope4NC connects individuals to mental health and resilience supports that help with coping skills and building resilience during times of crisis. Hope4NC is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with access to 711/TTY and interpreters.

Immediate Assistance

If you have questions about contact tracing and would like to talk to someone immediately, please call your local health department or the NC COVID Community Team at 1-844-628-7223. If you are in need of services and support, you may find support from a local Community Health Worker

Protection Against COVID-19

Vaccines, boosters, masks, and treatment provide strong protection against serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID-19. Find a vaccine location near you at myspot.nc.gov. Transportation assistance is also available. Mask guidance is available online, and high-quality masks can be found at your local home improvement store. While vaccines provide the best protection from COVID-19, treatment is available; however, treatments are currently limited to high-risk people. Learn more about COVID-19 treatments.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is contact tracing?

Tab/Accordion Item

Contact tracing is a confidential process that can help to slow the spread of COVID-19 and other contagious diseases by reaching out to people who have been diagnosed and those who may have been exposed to the virus.

In certain situations, contact tracing can help slow the spread of COVID-19. By letting people know when they have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, those exposed can stay home to protect their community. 

Additionally, contact tracing provides an avenue to connect people with free support and the tools required to isolate or quarantine, monitor symptoms, get tested, and help protect ourselves and our loved ones.

Contact tracing in North Carolina

Tab/Accordion Item

The NC COVID Community Team is the team of contact tracers working to slow the spread of COVID-19 in North Carolina. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services assembled this team (the COVID-19 Community Team) through a partnership with local health departments in order to expand their network, increase the number of contact tracers, and better handle the additional demand for contact tracing caused by COVID-19. 

Contact tracing is a public health process conducted by trained contact tracers in coordination with the local health departments through texts, emails, and phone calls. People who test positive for COVID-19 and have their test reported to their local health department are most often contacted by the North Carolina Covid Community Team through a text and/or email. They are provided a link to access important information on isolating and available resources, and they will have the chance to use this link to anonymously list individuals they may have exposed to COVID-19. All information shared is confidential. Then, the people who are exposed to someone who tested positive and listed by that person as a close contact may also receive a text and/or email. 

In some situations, a member of the contact tracing staff may also call people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and discuss whom they may have been in close contact with while they were contagious, how to isolate, and how to find needed resources, such as food and housing aid. Contact tracers then call these close contacts to notify them of their potential exposure and provide guidance on quarantine, testing dates, and any needed resources. NCDHHS is currently prioritizing making contact tracing phone calls to people who are associated with outbreaks and/or who are living or working in high-risk settings, such as congregate living facilities. NCDHHS is also prioritizing informational calls to people who did not receive a text and/or who are part of an under-resourced community. If you test positive for COVID-19, you should self-isolate and inform your own close contacts of exposure. See CDC for more information on how to do this.

The NC COVID Community call center is available to answer questions or provide support as needed. They can be reached at 844-628-7223.

Text messages from the NC COVID Community Team will come from the number 45394 and emails will come from NC-Outreach-noreply@dhhs.nc.gov. If a team member reaches out to you by phone, either NC OUTREACH (844-628-7223) or your local health department’s phone number will appear on your phone. The team represents communities across North Carolina and will provide support and information in multiple languages. People should be sure to answer the call when the NC COVID Community Team reaches out.

All information is confidential, and your personal information or name will not be released to anyone. Any information that you share with the NC COVID Community Team is a private health record and is strictly confidential. Personal information will not be shared with other government agencies.

The NC COVID Community Team will never ask for your Social Security number, bank, or credit card information, or send you a link without proper authentication procedures. If you are asked for this information, please hang up and call your local health department to report the incident. If you believe that you have been the victim of a scam, you may contact the Attorney General's Consumer Protection Division online or at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.

Double-check that the text, email, or phone call is coming from one of the numbers or addresses listed above. If you are ever in doubt of whether or not an outreach is legitimate, please reach out to call your local health department to confirm.

The NC COVID Community Team will always begin with introducing themselves, naming the local health department they are calling on behalf of, and stating that they are calling about an urgent public health matter. They will ask for some information to verify that they are speaking with the correct person, but they never ask for anyone’s Social Security Number, bank, or credit card numbers, or any other financial information at any time. If you are asked for this information, please hang up and call your local health department to report the incident.

Any information shared with the NC COVID Community Team is a private health record and is strictly confidential.

Review our fact sheet for more information about when and how to quarantine or isolate.

Communication with the COVID-19 Community Team

Tab/Accordion Item

If you have tested positive for COVID-19 or have encountered someone with COVID-19, the COVID-19 Community Team may call, text, and/or email you. The Community Team may verify basic information such as your first and last name, date of birth, or address. The Community Team may also ask you for information about your recent travel, who you have been in contact with, your symptoms and medical history (including vaccination status), and resources you may need to stay home safely. 

The Community Team will never ask for your Social Security Number, bank or credit card numbers, or any other financial information. If you are asked for this information, please hang up and call your local health department to report the incident.

Any information that is shared with the COVID-19 Community Team is a private health record and is strictly confidential. Personal information will not be shared with other government agencies, and the names of individuals and contacts will not be released or shared.

If you complete a test that provides results at home without supervision from a testing provider, the COVID-19 Community Team will not be informed of your result or attempt to contact you. If you complete a test at home that is sent to a lab, the team will be informed of your result and may attempt to reach you by text or email. If you have any questions, you can reach out to the COVID-19 Community Team at 1-844-628-7223. 

Please see this link for at-home testing guidance.

You may not receive any phone calls from the NC Community Team, as outreach may be limited to text or email. If you have not received any communication and require further support, please call your local health department or call the COVID-19 Community Team call center at 1-844-628-7223.

If you are an individual who is not reached by text or email or who lives in underserved areas, you may receive a phone call to connect you with available resources. Phone calls for full case investigation and contact tracing are performed for the highest priority settings, such as congregate living settings. If you believe you have tested positive or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have not received any communication from the COVID-19 Community Team, please reach out to your local health department or the COVID-19 Community Team call center at 1-844-628-7223.

If a member of the COVID-19 Community Team calls and can’t get you on the phone, they will leave a voicemail. You will know it is a member of the Community Team calling because they will:

  • Identify themselves with their first name and the local health department they are calling on behalf of.
  • Say “We are contacting you about an urgent public health matter. We would like to speak with you to provide further information and share guidance.”
  • Provide a phone number to return the call, which would either be the COVID-19 Community Team call center at 1-844-628-7223 or your local health department number. 

Additionally, you will likely receive a text or email from the Community Team. Text messages from the COVID-19 Community Team will come from the number 45394, and emails will come from the email address NC-Outreach-noreply@dhhs.nc.gov.

If the Community Team cannot reach you via email, text, or phone, they may follow up with you in person. If you believe you have tested positive or believe you have been exposed to COVID-19 and have not received any communication from the COVID-19 Community Team, please reach out to your local health department.

No, but contact tracing only works if everyone does their part and responds. The COVID-19 Community Team will make multiple attempts to reach anyone who doesn’t or is unable to respond.

People who have come in contact with someone with COVID-19 may not show any symptoms and don’t realize that they may be spreading the virus. Answering the phone when the COVID-19 Community Team calls, responding to their text messages or emails, and providing information helps to protect your loved ones and your community.

Yes! If you have been vaccinated against COVID-19, you should still respond to outreach from the COVID-19 Community Team. The team member may ask you questions about your vaccination status and, depending on your vaccination status and any symptoms you may have experienced can help discontinue further outreach to you if it is not needed.

Technology utilized for contact tracing

Tab/Accordion Item

In addition to local health department resources, the COVID-19 Community Team uses software called the COVID-19 Community Team Outreach Tool to store and track information collected during the contact tracing process. This tool is a secure public health platform and keeps personal information private and confidential.

In addition to storing information, this tool helps the Community Team identify and reach out to people that may have encountered a person who has COVID-19. The tool can initiate text and email messages to notify people who have tested positive or have been exposed to COVID-19. Additionally, if a person opts into the digital process, it can initiate a daily text or email assessment to allow for an efficient means of communicating about changes in symptoms or resources needs.  

For people who have tested positive for COVID-19, the tool also contains a case-patient portal where they can enter information via their phone or computer about close contacts who they may have exposed.

Contact tracing for K-12 schools

Tab/Accordion Item

North Carolina is recommending K-12 schools follow CDC’s Operational Guidance for K12 Schools to lower the risk of COVID-19 in school settings. Supplemental NCDHHS materials to help school leaders with contact tracing include the Procedures for Response to COVID-19 Cases in K-12 Schools. See NCDHHS Update on Guidance for K12 Settings for more information.