COVID-19 Community Tracing in Pima County


What is Contact Tracing?

Contact tracing for the COVID-19 response means public health staff at PCHD are focused on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to help protect others who have been potentially exposed to the virus. The goal is to keep you healthy and slow the spread of COVID-19. Your participation in contact tracing not only helps connect you to medical support and resources, answering the call keeps your loved ones and community safe.

Why Your Help Matters!

People in Pima County have been reaching out to ask what they can do to help during the COVID-19 crisis. We are proud to live in, and support, such a caring community and it will truly take a community-wide effort to successfully stop the spread of this virus. Contact tracing is one way you impact the health of our county and beyond. Answer the call!

You might:
  • Receive a text message (844-314-5805 or 855-481-1426) to alert you public health will be calling.
  • Get a call from PCHD (520-724-7797). PLEASE answer the call. Answering the phone will keep your loved ones and community safe. Calls are made between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. daily.
  • Receive a text message (1-833-403-5900 or 855-481-1426) to complete a digital survey.

How Does Contact Tracing/Community Tracing Work?

First, if you test positive, we will connect you with the support and resources you may need through your isolation. Then with your collaboration, the Contract Tracing Team will identify and reach out via phone and/or text to anyone you’ve had in-person contact with to contain the spread of the virus. Through this process, we will be able to better arrange testing, as well as medical and quarantine support for you and your loved ones. It is important to note that we will not release your name to anyone. Your information is confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is.

What is a "contact"?

You are considered a contact if:

  • You were within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more
  • You provided care at home to someone who is sick with COVID-19
  • You had direct physical contact (hugged or kissed) someone who has COVID-19
  • You shared eating or drinking utensils with someone who has COVID-19.
  • Someone with COVID-19 sneezed, coughed, or somehow got respiratory droplets on you
If you fit any one of the above points, please monitor your symptoms and get a COVID-19 test.

In-person outreach

If we are not able to reach you by phone, text message, or email, we may attempt to reach you in-person to help you complete the health assessment process, monitor your symptoms and identify your contacts. From a safe physical distance outside your home, we will provide you with information and supplies to help support successful isolation and self-care. This outreach helps increase our effectiveness and continue to encourage ways to keep Pima County residents safe.

About Your Privacy:

Your information is confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is. Your information will not be shared with other agencies, including immigration officials. Additionally, we will not release your name to anyone on your contact list.

What to expect

Before a Contact Tracer calls you, start noting where you were while you were contagious and who you were with. This form can help you figure out where to start. Answer your phone if you get a call from "Pima Public Health." We are also trying to text people ahead of time to let you know we will be calling.

If you do not or cannot answer the phone, we will leave a voicemail. Please return the call after listening to the message.

Contact Tracers will never ask you for your social security number or bank information. They may confirm your name and date of birth.

The Contact Tracing Team will not share your identify with any contacts you identify as possible exposure. We do encourage you to reach out to people you were around during the contagious period, if you are comfortable doing so.

By providing as much information as you can to the Contact Tracer, you will help keep the community safe and healthy. 

We all have a role to play in slowing the spread of COVID-19, thank you for doing your part!

Not fully vaccinated and exposed to COVID-19: CDC guidance

You will get a call if:

  • You test positive for COVID-19
  • You are listed as a contact of someone with COVID-19

Calls are made between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. 

If you do not answer, we will leave a voicemail. Please check that message and return the call.

What happens when a Contact Tracer calls?

You will receive a text before a call, to let you know we are calling.

When a PCHD Contact Tracer calls, the caller ID may read "Pima Health Dept.", begin with 520-724-????, or be blank.

The contact tracer will ask you for a list of all of the places you went to while you were symptomatic in addition to the two days before you started feeling sick. They will ask for a list of people you have been near – within six feet – during that same time period. If you got tested without having symptoms (asymptomatic), we’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your test date. We will ask for the phone numbers of anyone you list and we will contact them get them to monitor their health or get them tested if necessary. If you feel comfortable, we will encourage you to give your contacts a heads up that PCHD will be calling, but we will not identify you as the person who potentially exposed them. We’ll call your contacts and let them know they have been exposed so they can get tested, but not tell them your name.

If you are staying at home during the isolation period, the PCHD Contact Tracer will discuss any needs you may have and may connect you with a care resource coordinator who will help you get the support you need. Throughout your illness, PCHD will check in to monitor your symptoms and needs.

Beware of scammers: PCHD will never ask you for your social security number or insurance information.

How long does contact tracing take?

The time it takes for a COVID-19 test to come back varies by lab. Every positive is reported into a state-wide online system that we have continual access to. Once we get report of a positive, we have to get the name and contact information of the patient. After that, it depends on how soon we can talk with the patient and how long it takes them to get us a list of contacts. We typically complete the phone interview with the patient within 1.7 days of getting the positive report.

If You Are Contacted In-person

If we are not able to reach you by phone, text message or email to complete your health assessment, we may attempt to reach out to you in person.

  • Wear a face mask and ask you to wear one during the conversation.
  • Ask questions to confirm your identity (such as birth date)
  • Provide helpful information and supplies to support you in isolation.
  • Offer encouragement and attempt to connect you with our Case Investigation Team to complete the assessment process, identify potential contacts and reach out to them as soon as possible.

We will NEVER:
  • Ask to enter your home
  • Ask for your Social Security Number (SSN)
  • Ask about health insurance information
  • Ask about your immigration status
The material on this page is copyright to the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. It may be used in whole or in part by public entities with attribution to the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative. Private parties may not use or reproduce this material without prior written permission of the Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative © 2020 Massachusetts Community Tracing Collaborative.
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