Case Investigation and Contact Tracing: COVID-19 - Minnesota Dept. of Health
As we learn more about COVID-19, recommendations and guidance are updated frequently. Please check back often.

Case Investigation and Contact Tracing: COVID-19

Case investigation and contact tracing work together to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Case investigation identifies where people who have COVID-19 may have been exposed or infected others. Case investigations also help to identify contacts, or people who may have been exposed to someone with COVID-19. Contact tracing helps to further slow the spread of the virus by telling contacts to stay home and away from others. It is important for cases to stay home and isolate and for contacts to quarantine even if they feel fine so they do not infect others.

On this page:
How COVID-19 case investigation works
Text notification
Online survey
How COVID-19 contact tracing works
Special circumstances
Privacy
Questions
More information

How COVID-19 case investigation works

Lab tests for COVID-19 are reported to the health department the same way other infectious diseases are reported.

Some people may receive a phone call from a public health worker doing case investigations. However, due to the high number of COVID-19 cases in Minnesota, case investigators are not able to call and interview everyone who tests positive. Most people who test positive for COVID-19 will receive a text message from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH). Texting allows case investigators to reach people quickly and provide important health information to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Please respond to the text message and complete the online survey. This helps MDH learn more about COVID-19 and how it is spreading.

We may also send you informational text messages, phone calls, and emails about vaccines and testing. Visit COVID-19 Messages from the State of Minnesota for more information.

Scam warning: Please note that MDH will never ask for any financial information, your social security number, or insurance information during or after a case investigation. If you receive a communication from someone claiming they are MDH staff that asks for any of this information, do not provide this information to them, as it is likely a scam.

Text notification

A person who tests positive for COVID-19 will receive a text message from MDH at the number they provided when they got tested.

The text will come from phone number 877-790-8031. If a person doesn't respond to the initial text, they will receive a follow-up text from the same number.

The text message asks for an email address to send important health information in their preferred language. After responding with their email address, the person will receive an email with a link to an online survey.

Online survey

Minnesotans who have tested positive for COVID-19 have the option to answer case investigation questions online after responding to the text message sent from MDH. They will receive a link to a secure online survey to the email address they provided.

The email will come from health.covid19.esurvey@state.mn.us. Do not click on a link that comes from a different email address.

The survey link sent by email is active for three days. The online survey is available in four languages: English, Spanish, Somali, and Hmong.

It includes a link to a brief case investigation survey that walks the person through a series of questions. After completing the survey, the person will receive information about how long to stay home and when it's safe to return to work, school, or other activities.

How COVID-19 contact tracing works

Contact tracing helps to further slow the spread of the virus by trying to identify close contacts of people who have COVID-19 during the interview process. Close contacts are people who may have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19 and should watch for symptoms, get tested, and follow the recommended quarantine guidance.

For more information on what it means to be a close contact and information on quarantine, visit Close Contacts and Quarantine: COVID-19.

COVIDAware

Minnesotans who test positive and use the COVIDAware app also have the option to enter a verification code to anonymously let others know they tested positive. That way other people who have the app on their phone will receive an alert to let them know they were exposed and can quarantine if needed. If a person doesn't receive a verification code after their positive test result, they can call 651-201-5689 to request one.

Special circumstances

Special teams from the health department may get involved if a close contact is a health care worker or lives or works in a congregate setting. This includes someone who works in a nursing home or other settings where a lot of people live in the same place, such as jails, shelters, treatment centers, etc. These types of setting can be higher risk of being exposed to someone with COVID-19 and exposing others to the virus.

Privacy

Protecting the privacy of people’s personal information is critical to public health. It is also state law. People who test positive for COVID-19 get a detailed privacy notice when contacted by public health workers to let them know what information is being asked for, who has access to it, and how it will be shared. People have the right to refuse an interview or giving any information during the interview. Information given to the health department is shared with local public health officials and public health staff working on the COVID-19 response.

To protect the health and safety of others, the health department may need to share your name and COVID-19 status with a school, child care, or workplace especially if you work in a health care setting. We will try to reach you by phone first to explain why your name may need to be shared.

Questions

  • Call the COVID-19 Public Hotline: 833-431-2053.

More information

  • If You Are Sick: COVID-19
    More information about what to do if you are sick, including translated fact sheets explaining what to do if you have COVID-19 or have been in close contact with someone who has it.

  • Avoiding Phone Scams
    If you have concerns about a scammer pretending to be from the health department, visit this page on what we will ask for and what we will never ask.
Download the free COVIDaware MN app to get notified if you have been near someone who tests positive for COVID-19.

Updated Thursday, 13-Jan-2022 15:34:26 CST