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Contact tracing is the process of identifying, assessing, and managing people who have been exposed to a disease to prevent onward transmission. These people are called contacts. Contact tracing for COVID-19 requires identifying people who may have been exposed to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, and following them daily for 14 days. The goal is to stop transmission of the virus by reducing the number of people who are circulating with the virus.
A contact is defined as anyone who had direct contact or was within 6 feet for at least 15 minutes with a person infected with the virus that causes COVID-19, even if the person with the confirmed infection did not have symptoms. Contacts should remain in self-quarantine during the 14-day monitoring period to limit the possibility of exposing other people to infection should they become ill. Close contacts are encouraged to get tested.
Contact tracing is initiated for every confirmed case of COVID-19 on Nantucket. This work is spearheaded by the Town of Nantucket Health Department, which contracts with Nantucket Cottage Hospital to conduct case investigation and contact tracing.