COVID-19 | July 16, 2020

Coast Guard launches contact tracing program

By Shana Brouder

The Coast Guard has started a COVID-19 contact tracing program to identify and notify employees and those family members residing in CG-owned housing who may have come into contact with someone infected with COVID-19. The goal is to stop transmission of the virus.

If the tracers believe you might have come into contact with an infected person, they will reach out to you. Initially interviews and notifications will be conducted over the phone, but the CG is also looking into the use of additional tools to include video calls. The tracer will inform you of your potential exposure, talk with you about symptoms to look out for, and provide instructions on what you should do next. Depending on your potential exposure, they may also recommend you self-quarantine.

Coast Guard contact tracers complete a comprehensive training program through Johns Hopkins University. Their training includes public health, epidemiology, effective communication, ethics, and privacy concerns. Contact tracers are ethically and legally bound to protect the information they collect, only using it for public health purposes.

So, what do you do when a Coast Guard contact tracer reaches out to you?

First, confirm their identity. Scammers are taking advantage of COVID-19 contact tracing efforts; the Coast Guard will be posting a list of all Contact Tracers on the Contact Tracing CGPortal site.

Then, take the time to answer their questions and be ready to follow their recommendations. If the contact tracer recommends you self-quarantine, you may not return to the workplace until your quarantine has ended. If you have tested or been diagnosed as COVID positive, self-isolating is the best way you can help keep your colleagues, friends and community healthy.