How contact tracing works

Contact tracing allows us to find people who may have been exposed to COVID-19.  

What contact tracing is 

If someone has COVID-19, we need to find people who may have had exposure to the virus. This is contact tracing. 

Contact tracing helps find out where someone might have caught COVID-19, and who else might have been exposed. These people become contacts. 

Types of contacts 

Household contacts 

You are a Household Contact if you live with someone who is has tested positive for COVID-19. A Household Contact: 

  • shares a house or flat with someone (either all the time or some of the time) who has tested positive for COVID-19, and 
  • has spent at least 1 night or day in that residence while the case was infectious. 

Whether you are vaccinated or not, you need to: 

  • self-isolate from the day the person with COVID-19 tests positive or is notified as a probable case until they complete 7 days of isolation 
  • get a test for COVID-19 on the appropriate days of the isolation period, or sooner if you develop symptoms. If you test positive, you need to follow the guidance for people who have COVID-19. 
  • try to avoid contact with the person who has COVID-19. 

Close contacts 

You are a Close Contact if you have had contact with a person with COVID-19 when they were infectious. You do not need to self-isolate if you are a Close Contact. Monitor yourself for symptoms, and if you develop any, get a test.  

Contact tracing form 

If you test positive for COVID-19 you will need to share where you have been and who you have seen. You can share this securely online through a contact tracing form. This is instead of a phone interview. 

If you have a valid mobile phone number, you will get a text message with a link and access code to complete this form. The COVID-19 contact tracing form lets you share: 

  • symptoms you have 
  • details of your household contacts 
  • details of any high-risk locations and close contacts 
  • welfare needs. 

If you use the NZ COVID Tracer app and Bluetooth tracing, you can share your digital diary and your Bluetooth data. 

Completing the form is quicker than an interview — it takes about 30 minutes. If you don’t start the form within 24 hours, someone will call and complete the case interview over the phone. 

Contact tracing with the NZ COVID tracer app 

The NZ COVID Tracer app is our fastest way of contact tracing — the faster we respond, the faster we stop it. Using the NZ COVID Tracer app can give contact tracers all the information they need to: 

  • find where transmission came from 
  • find anyone else who has been exposed to the virus. 

If you prefer, you can use a different form of contact tracing, such as handwritten notes or an NZ COVID Tracer booklet.  

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