Contact Tracing

Updated February 1, 2022

If you test positive for COVID-19, call your close contacts as soon as you are able to do so. The quicker someone knows to isolate or quarantine, the better chances we have as a community to keep the spread of this virus in check.

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What is contact tracing?

Contact tracing is a time-tested public health tool that effectively prevents the spread of contagious diseases. The Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and its community partners have been using contact tracing for other types of infectious illnesses such as tuberculosis for quite some time.

The State of Alaska in collaboration with many partners across the State, has sustained a robust contact tracing program throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of March 2022, the State will be transitioning away from universal case investigation and contact tracing to a more strategic approach of outbreak investigation and mitigation. A number of factors have reduced the feasibility of universal case investigation and contact tracing for COVID-19 cases.

Slow the spread of COVID-19

Alaskans who test positive for COVID-19 should call their own close contacts (people who may have been exposed to the virus). A close contact is someone who was less than 6 feet away from an infected person for a cumulative total of 15 minutes or more over a 24-hour period (for example, three individual 5-minute exposures for a total of 15 minutes). An infected person can spread COVID-19 starting 2 days before they have any symptoms (or, for asymptomatic people, 2 days before the positive specimen collection date).

If you or someone you know has recently tested positive for COVID-19 and needs guidance on what to do next, please call Public Health Nursing at 907-646-3322 or toll-free at 1-833-482-9546. You may also contact your local Public Health Center for guidance on local resources, quarantine, and isolation. Find a Public Health Center near you.

How is Alaska using technology to support contact tracing?

The University of Alaska is implementing a voluntary, anonymous, opt-in exposure notification application called Alaska COVID ENX. This is an effort led by the University, not the State, but it’s a helpful tool for Alaskans who choose to use this tool.

More information