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Learn about the Community Tracing Collaborative

Want to be part of the COVID-19 solution? Just answer the call.

Table of Contents

phone in hand, contact tracing

Community Tracing Collaborative overview

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts created the COVID-19 Community Tracing program to help support boards of health from every community in their contact tracing work. The program focuses on reaching out to people who have tested positive for COVID-19 and the contacts they have been close to, making sure they have the support they need to isolate or quarantine. When the MA COVID Team calls, you can do your part by answering the phone and providing helpful information that will help flatten and reduce the curve in Massachusetts.

Why your help matters

Through what’s called contact tracing, boards of health and the Collaborative are reaching out to everyone who tested positive and people who have been exposed. We are proud to be the first state in the nation to initiate contact tracing and your participation is critical to our shared success. Contact tracing is your way to impact the lives of many in our state and beyond and help stop the spread of COVID-19

What the Community Tracing Collaborative is

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a partnership with the Department of Public Health and Partners In Health, supporting local boards of health in contact tracing. The program focuses on reaching out to the contacts of confirmed positive COVID-19 patients to ensure they have the support they need to self-isolate, and to help protect others who have been potentially exposed to the virus. The COVID-19 Community Tracing Collaborative’s goal is to keep you healthy and slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. Your participation in contact tracing will not only help connect you to medical support and resources, answering the call will keep your loved ones and community safe.

How community tracing works

First, if you test positive, the CTC or your local board of health will connect you with the support and resources, you may need through isolation. Then with your collaboration, we will identify and reach out via phone and text to anyone you’ve been in close contact with to encourage them to get tested and self-quarantine. It is important to note that we will not release your name to anyone. Your information is strictly confidential and will be treated as the private medical record it is.

How contact tracing works infographic

How can I verify MA COVID Team or my local board of health is calling?

Calls from the MA COVID Team will use the prefix 833 and 857 and your phone will say the call is from “MA COVID Team.” Calls will be made daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Your local board of health will use their local phone numbers to contact you.

What happens during the call?

When we call, a MA COVID team member or representative from your board of health will ask you for a list of all of the people you were within six feet of during the two days before you had symptoms. If you don’t have symptoms, we’ll ask about your activity during the two days before your diagnosis. We will also ask for the phone numbers of anyone you tell us about, so they can be called and cared for.

We will encourage you to let your contacts know about your illness, but we will not be sharing your information with 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 MA COVID team member or local board of health representative will also 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, a MA COVID team member or your local board of health will check in to monitor your symptoms and needs.

Why community tracing matters

Although social distancing has been proven effective in slowing the spread of the virus, there is more that we can do to take care of each other. With contact tracing in place, we can track the spread and reduce additional exposure to others by encouraging testing, supporting quarantine and social distancing. Many people who have COVID-19 don’t show any symptoms and don’t realize that they may be spreading the virus. So, if you get a call keep your family and friends safe by answering the call. We are all in this together and by sharing information and listening to the direction of the Community Tracing Collaborative and your local board of health, we can spread the word to stop the virus.

About your privacy

Your information is strictly 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 with whom you’ve been in contact.