Contact tracing is the process of identifying people who may have been exposed to a contagious disease like COVID-19 and monitoring those people and those who they may have contacted to stop the spread of that illness.
Contact tracers work with individuals to make a list of people with whom they may have interacted while they were potentially contagious. Contact tracers then contact the people on the list, provide them guidance on next steps and further investigate who those individuals may have met. If there are others, the process starts again. Confidentiality is always maintained during this process.
Contact tracing has been used effectively to monitor and control the spread of illnesses like tuberculosis, HIV, Ebola, SARS, measles and other infections around the globe for many years.